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Private-sector job growth slows a bit to 182,000 in October, ADP says

Job fair

Job applicants fill out and turn in forms during a job fair at Dolphin Mall in Miami on Oct. 6.

(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

Private-sector job growth slowed slightly in October but still posted a solid gain of about 182,000 net new positions, payroll firm Automatic Data Processing Inc. said Wednesday.

The figure was down from 190,000 net new jobs created the previous month. ADP initially had estimated job gains of 200,000 in September but revised that down on Wednesday.

Still, the private-sector labor market is performing well in the face of lower oil prices and a global economic slowdown that have hurt energy and manufacturing companies, said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in preparing the report.

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“The economy is creating close to 200,000 jobs per month,” he said. “Job gains are broad-based with energy and manufacturing alone subtracting from the top line.”

ADP’s data is watched closely as an early signal of overall job growth ahead of the government’s job report.

Economists expect the Labor Department to report Friday that the U.S. added 190,000 net new private- and public-sector jobs in October. That would be a significant improvement over the lackluster 142,000 net new jobs added the previous month.

The unemployment rate in October is expected to tick down to 5%, the lowest since 2008.

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Federal Reserve officials have hinted they could raise a key interest rate in December and the jobs reports the next two months will be a major factor in their decision.

On Wednesday, Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen confirmed that a rate hike could come at the December meeting of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee.

“Now, no decision at all has been made on that and what it will depend on is the committee’s assessment of the economic outlook at that time and that assessment will be informed by all of the data that we receive between now and then,” Yellen told members of the House Financial Services Committee.

She was testifying at a hearing about banking regulation, but was asked about monetary policy and the state of the economy.

“At this point, I see the U.S. economy as performing well,” she said.

ADP said that goods-producing companies added 24,000 net new jobs last month, the most since January.

The construction industry continued to post strong gains, adding 35,000 net new jobs in October, after a 34,000 gain the previous month.

The manufacturing sector shed 2,000 jobs last month, but that was an improvement over the 17,000 net job losses in September, ADP said.

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