US companies added the most jobs in a year in December, payrolls firm ADP said Wednesday in a report that pointed to an economy nearing full employment.
The ADP said that private-sector jobs increased by 257,000 in December, the strongest jobs growth since December 2014, when 275,00 payrolls were added.
The average monthly job gains in 2015 was a tick below 200,000, down from 240,000 in 2014, as weakness in the energy and manufacturing sectors took a toll, ADP said.
Strong job growth looked set to continue this year, said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics which helps to compile the ADP data.
"If this pace of job growth is sustained, which seems likely, the economy will be back to full employment by mid-year. This is a significant achievement, given that the last time the economy was at full employment was nearly a decade ago," Zandi said in a statement.
The ADP data came in well above analysts' estimates of 190,000.
The ADP report is often significantly different from the more-trusted Labor Department jobs report.
The department's December report, to be released Friday, is expected to show only 200,000 job gains across the private and public sectors, slowing from 211,000 in November.
The unemployment rate is forecast to hold at 5.0 percent, a seven-year low.