Alan Diaz, Associated Press
In this photo taken Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, active duty U.S. Marine Corps Jerome Atger, left, prepares to show his resume to Peter Caspari, of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, right, at the annual Veterans Career and Resource Fair in Miami. Payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in February on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses added more than 200,000 jobs in February for the 13th straight month, a private survey found. It was the latest sign that strong hiring should boost the economy this year.

Payroll processor ADP says companies added 212,000 jobs last month, a solid gain, though down from 250,000 in the previous month. January's figure was revised up from 213,000.

The figures come just before Friday's government report, which economists forecast will show an increase of 240,000 jobs.

The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report, which includes government agencies.

A burst of hiring in the past year has lifted the number of Americans earning paychecks, and a sharp drop in gas prices means those paychecks can buy more goods and services.