U.S. private employers added 263,000 jobs in March, more than the number they hired in February and well above economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
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Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 187,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 110,000 to 225,000.
Private payroll gains in the month earlier were revised down to 245,000 from the originally reported 298,000.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment.
Economists polled by Reuters are looking for U.S. private payroll employment to have grown by 175,000 jobs in March, down from 227,000 the month before. Total non-farm employment is expected to have risen by 180,000.
The unemployment rate is forecast to stay steady at the 4.7 percent recorded a month earlier.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)