American companies added the fewest jobs in 9 years in May, ADP says

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  • The US added far fewer private-sector jobs in May than had been expected, according to the ADP National Employment Report out Wednesday.
  • The surprisingly weak growth suggests the labor market could be cooling down.

  • ADP's model uses official employment data as well as information from companies that use its payroll-processing services.

The private sector created the fewest jobs in nine years in May, a surprisingly soft pace of growth that could suggest the US labor market is cooling down.

The ADP National Employment Report out Wednesday showed the private sector added 27,000 jobs last month, well below economist forecasts for a 185,000 increase and the slowest pace since September 2010.

"Payroll growth was bound to slow in May, following April's unexpected strength, but this is a much bigger slowdown than we expected," said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "ADP's model is not always reliable, but this is such a big miss that we have to temper our forecast for Friday's official number."

ADP's model uses official employment data as well as information from companies that use its payroll-processing services.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release its May employment report, which includes both private and public sector jobs, on Friday. Economists expect that to show the US economy added 185,000 nonfarm payrolls last month.

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