U.S. businesses added more than 200,000 jobs for the fifth consecutive month in August, though the latest increase was the smallest over that period and also fell short of expectations.
Private-sector payrolls in the U.S. grew by 204,000 in August, according to a report by payroll processor Automatic Data Processing and analysis provider Moody’s Analytics. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the ADP report to show a 223,000 increase in employment.
ADP reported fairly broad job growth: businesses of all sizes added jobs, led by those that employ fewer than 50. Professional/business services employers added 51,000 jobs, while other major industries like manufacturing and construction also added more jobs in August.
The U.S. economy has performed well of late, with second-quarter domestic product expanding more than economists expected as consumer spending, exports and state and local government spending all increased.
“Our current outlook is probably the most upbeat we’ve come up with the past seven years,” said Mike Schenk, chief economist of the Credit Union National Association. He projects the unemployment rate will continue to fall and the economy will expand by about 3.5% in 2015.
Economists have touted fairly broad job growth in recent months, though wages haven’t yet achieved historical growth rates and labor force participation has been weak in recent years.
“We still have a long way to go before we can claim things are better,” Schenk said. He said it was problematic that the average duration of unemployment is still about two times higher than historical norms.
The ADP report was issued a day before the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment situation, which reports nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate and other data. Economists expect that report will show jobs rose 230,000 in August, while the unemployment rate is projected to tick down to 6.1% from 6.2%.