WASHINGTON -- Payrolls at U.S. companies climbed in June by the most since November 2012, a sign the job market is strengthening as demand picks up.
The 281,000 increase in employment exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey and followed a 179,000 rise in May, data from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, N.J., showed Wednesday. The median projection of 47 economists was 205,000.
Businesses are taking on more workers and limiting dismissals, bolstering economists' projections that the economy will strengthen after a first-quarter contraction. A Labor Department report on Thursday may show private payrolls climbed by 213,000 workers last month, according to the Bloomberg survey.
"Job gains are broad-based across all industries and company sizes," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pa., said in a statement.
Moody's produces the figures with ADP.
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from gains of 169,000 to 250,000.
Manufacturers, builders and other goods-producing industries increased headcount by 51,000. Employment in construction rose by 36,000, while factories added 12,000 jobs.