PhotoAfter creating a disappointing 151,000 private sector jobs in December, the U.S. economy stepped it up a notch last month.

According to the ADP National Employment Report, nearly a quarter million new jobs -- 246,000 -- were created last month.

"The U.S. labor market is hitting on all cylinders and we saw small and midsized businesses perform exceptionally well," said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

Indeed, the report -- produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with Moody's Analytics -- shows medium-sided businesses led the way, adding 102,000 new payroll positions.

Large business contributed 83,000 jobs, followed by small firms at 61,000.

Employment at services-providing companies increased by 201,000, while goods-producing firms hired another 46,000 workers.

Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi calls the report a “strong start” for 2017, adding that even the energy sector -- with 6,000 new jobs -- is adding to payrolls again.

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