More Americans are going back to work. This is very good news. Period.
Today ADP released its monthly count of new payrolls -- ADP processes about one third of the nation's paychecks -- and 238,000 more Americans joined the ranks of the employed. This marks a one-year high and caps a strong uptrend for the past six months.
The employment gains occurred across companies of all sizes and included a number of sectors. Reflecting the service-oriented nature of the U.S. economy, professional jobs led December's gains at 53,000, followed by construction, trade, machinery and the financial sector.
GMP strategist Adrian Miller reiterates this morning he believes growth will accelerate in 2014, echoing similar comments yesterday from both Goldman Sachs and Brown Brothers Harriman. Job growth reflects economic improvement. And as goes growth, so go stocks.
Screening companies in the S&P 500 for hiring over the past year, only ten have increased full-time staff by 10 percent or more. In theory, they should also lead the markets board in 2014. Again, as goes growth, so go stocks.
We believe today's strong data implies accelerating hiring into 2014, which means more names should join our list in coming months. For the benefit of blog readers, we include likely candidates, based on their recent 5-to-8 percent hiring increases: Ford Motor (F), PNC Financial (PNC), Blackrock Inc (BLK), Halliburton (HAL), M&T Bank Corp (MTB), Walt Disney Co. (DIS).