FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 file photo, Muslima Hassan trims the rubber bottom of an L.L. Bean boot at a facility in Lewiston, Maine. Payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in December on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 file photo, Muslima Hassan trims the rubber bottom of an L.L. Bean boot at a facility in Lewiston, Maine. Payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in December on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. ... (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File) (The Associated Press)

Survey: US businesses stepped up hiring last month in sign of confidence in national economy

Economic Indicators Associated Press

U.S. businesses ramped up hiring last month in the latest sign that the nation's economy is expanding despite worries about global growth that have sent financial markets tumbling.

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Payroll processor ADP says that companies added 241,000 jobs in December, up from 227,000 in November. That suggests Friday's government report on December job gains will also be healthy.

The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report, which includes government agencies.

Economists forecast the government's figures will show that employers added 240,000 jobs in December, according to a survey by financial data provider FactSet. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 5.8 percent.