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US private sector hiring slows in July: payroll firm


Washington (AFP)

US companies hired at a slower but solid pace in July, with gains almost entirely in services industries but spread across firms of all sizes, payroll firm ADP reported Wednesday.

Total private employment rose by 178,000 last month, a decline after the sharp upward revision to June hiring to 191,000. That puts hiring below the trend pace of over 200,000 from late 2015, and below analysts' expectations.

Services firms added 174,000, while the goods-producing sector increased by just 4,000, despite a decline of 4,000 in the manufacturing sector, the ADP data showed.

But Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said the gains are still considered strong.

"However, as the labor market tightens employers may find it more difficult to recruit qualified workers."

In fact with the unemployment rate at a very low 4.4 percent, many companies around the country have been reporting difficulty filling open positions, in skilled and even less-skilled jobs, something repeatedly noted by the Federal Reserve and other surveys.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said, "The American job machine continues to operate in high gear."

"At this pace of job growth, unemployment will continue to quickly decline," he said.

The report, which covers 411,000 firms and 24 million workers, comes before Friday's closely-watched US employment data report, although the two reports can diverge widely.

Prior to the ADP release, analysts were forecasting a gain of 175,000 in the private employment component of the official data report. In June, the Labor Department reported an increase of 187,000 private payrolls, compared to the upwardly-revised 191,000 in the ADP.

Broken down by company size, medium-sized businesses hired 83,000 workers last month, while small businesses added 50,000, and large firms hired 45,000, the report showed.

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