U.S. jobs growth rose faster than expected in July, according to a eport Wednesday from payroll firm Automatic Data Processing.
Private employers added 156,000 jobs during the month, ADP said, exceeding economists' average forecast for a gain of 150,000. The month also marked an increase from the 102,000 jobs added in June.
Economists have been scrutinizing data releases for indicators on future growth, as President Donald Trump's ongoing trade war with China casts a shadow over financial markets.
Yet many economists and investors say that the Federal Reserve's move toward cutting official interest rates - expected to happen Wednesday afternoon - has already helped to stimulate the economy, since traders' mere anticipation of the cuts is reflected in financial markets as if they had taken place.
Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, who hosts a conference call with journalists on behalf of ADP when the monthly numbers are released, said it may be too soon to see any impact from Federal Reserve monetary-policy easing in the July labor-market numbers.
The pace of jobs growth has slowed this year to an average pace of about 170,000 per month from about 220,000 in 2018, he said.
But he said the labor market still appears on a solid footing, since the U.S. economy typically just needs to create about 100,000 to 120,000 jobs per month to maintain a stable unemployment rate.
"That's still healthy," Zandi said. In fact, he said, part of this year's slowdown in jobs growth might simply be due to a shortage of available workers, with companies looking to hire for a record number of open positions.
For economists and investors, the ADP report typically serves as a preview for the U.S. Labor Department's official monthly report on national employment, due out Friday.
That report is expected to show that employers including federal, state and local governments and agencies added 163,000 jobs in July, based on a survey by FactSet, in a slowdown from the 224,000 reported for June.
But Zandi estimated that government employers probably shed about 10,000 jobs during the month.
So based on the latest ADP figures, which doesn't include government employment, Zandi estimated the Labor Department would report an official gain of about 140,000 jobs for July when the Labor Department releases its official number on Friday.
The reason, Zandi said, is partly that there was an unexpectedly large gain in government jobs in June, so the public payroll growth will likely revert to the average, he said.
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