Small businesses lead hiring surge in June

In this June 23, 2014 photo, recruiter Christina O, with New Western Acquisitions, left, takes Raheem Shaw's resumé during a job fair. Shaw is seeking a second job. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs, has fallen 10 percent since the first week of January. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Private employers added 281,000 jobs in June, the payroll company ADP reported Wednesday, indicating an economy that seems to be shaking off some of the lingering aftermath of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

"It was a great number," said economist Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, analyzing the report for the New Jersey-based ADP.

"The gains were broad-based," he said. "Every industry experienced an increase in employment."

Even so, he said, it will be several years before the economy can create enough jobs to return the many long-term jobless to employment.

Particularly impressive to Zandi from this month's ADP report, which measures private-sector jobs, excluding farm jobs, were the 117,000 jobs generated by businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

"The credit environment has much improved for small business," he said. "Lending by banks to small business is growing robustly at a double-digit pace."

The payroll company's report typically comes out a day or two before the U.S. Labor Department's monthly jobs report, due Thursday, a day earlier because of the July Fourth holiday.

The two reports' long-term trends match, but the specifics don't always track completely. For example, the government's May report showed an increase of 217,000 jobs, with 216,000 in the private sector. ADP reported an increase of 179,000 private-sector jobs in May.

Also on Wednesday, the Conference Board released its monthly report on online job postings - up 155,900 in June. However, in its report, it said the postings have fluctuated and the trend, over six months, has been flat.

Together, this week's reports paint a mixed picture of the job situation.

Unemployment in the Philadelphia area increased to 6.1 percent in May from 5.6 in April, the U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday.

"People are not feeling that some of these optimistic numbers are affecting them," said Estina Baker, senior state director for Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. "It's still pretty bleak."