Private sector hiring surged to its highest mark in a decade, according to a report released by ADP Employment Services Thursday.
According to a report in Politico, ADP says companies added 325,000 jobs in December, surpassing the market estimates that 175,000 would be added to the workforce.
The report was mirrored by news from the Labor Department that unemployment claims fell last week by 15,000, following a three-month downward trend.
The figures point to the U.S. economy gaining momentum as 2012 begins. Retailers reported solid holiday sales, consumer confidence rose to the highest level since April and the last two months of 2011 were the strongest of the year for U.S. auto sales, according to Associated Press reports.
"It really does look like the economy is beginning to change gears as the labor market is firming," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, in a press release.
On Friday, the government reports on December job growth and unemployment. Economists forecast that employers added 150,000 net jobs, with unemployment ticking up to 8.7 percent.