American businesses created far more jobs than expected in March.

The private sector added 263,000 jobs during the month, according to the monthly report from ADP and Moody’s Analytics said. Economists had forecast just 185,000 new jobs in March, according to a survey conducted by Reuters.

February’s jobs number was revised significantly down to 245,000 from the preliminary report of 298,000. That means that jobs creation appears to be picking up steam rather than slowing, as many economists expected after the initial strong start to the year.

Small businesses led the jobs boom in March, with companies with fewer than 50 employees adding 118,000 positions. Companies with fewer than 20 employees created 60,000 of those jobs. Firms with 50 or more workers but fewer than 500 added 100,000, according to the report. The largest American companies added 45,000 jobs.

It’s clear that makers and builders are making a big comeback this year. Goods producing companies added 82,0000 jobs in March, with manufacturing adding 30,000 jobs while construction payrolls grew by 49,000. Miners and natural resource companies added 4,000 jobs.

“Job growth is off to a strong start in 2017. The gains are broad based but most notable in the goods producing side of the economy including construction, manufacturing and mining,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics said.

The ADP and Moody’s report is generally viewed in the market as a preview of the official jobs figures, which are due from the Labor Department on Friday.


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