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The pace of US private-sector jobs growth picked up sharply last month, setting an upbeat tone ahead of Friday’s closely watched monthly jobs report.

Private employers added 298,000 jobs in February, according to payroll processor ADP. That is the biggest one-month gain since April 2014 and handily beat Wall Street expectations of a 187,000 rise.

“February proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment with increases we have not seen in years,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Gains were driven by a surge in the goods sector, while we also saw the information industry experience a notable increase.”

The data comes just two days before Friday’s all-important jobs report, which will give the Federal Reserve a fresh set of data to contemplate ahead of their rate-setting meeting next week. Fed fund futures are currently pointing to a 98 per cent chance of a rate rise this month.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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