As winter ends hiring begins

It's been a long, cold winter - literally and figuratively - for those seeking employment. Spring may finally bring relief. Payroll processer ADP reports private employers in the United States increased hiring at a rapid pace in March, suggesting the jobs market is recovering from a brutal winter.

The construction industry added 20,000 jobs, up from an average of 16,000 for each of the previous three months. Those kinds of numbers suggest the government's jobs report, due to be released Friday, will be healthy. Economists predict the report will show employers added 195,000 jobs in March. If that number holds, it would be the best one-month gain since November.

One closely monitored industry is U.S. factory orders. Orders rose in February after two months of declines. The numbers, however, aren't all good. While the gain reflected a rebound in orders for commercial aircraft and autos, the demand for core capital goods saw its second decline in three months. Some economists blame the winter. They say the severity of the season caused businesses to postpone plans to expand or modernize their operations.