By Martin Crutsinger
WASHINGTON -- A private survey shows U.S. businesses sharply increased hiring in December, helped by a surge of new construction jobs created to help rebuild from Superstorm Sandy.
Payroll processor ADP says employers added 215,000 jobs in December. That's more than November's total of 148,000, which was revised higher.
The survey showed that companies added 39,000 construction jobs last month. That was partly in response to the storm but also an indication of the housing recovery under way.
Even with the strong month of job growth, the survey offered a reminder that a key area of the economy remains weak: Manufacturers cut 11,000 jobs.
The report covers hiring only in the private sector. ADP's figures have diverged sharply at times from the government's more comprehensive jobs report, which will be released Friday.
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