In a possible sign that economic growth is on the upswing, private employers added 157,000 jobs in June, a private-sector report released Thursday found.
The Labor Department also announced Thursday that weekly jobless claims fell — which, combined with the jobs report from ADP, could enhance expectations for the government’s June employment findings, due Friday.
Economists now predict the government to find more robust job growth in June, perhaps around 110,000. The unemployment rate, last pegged at 9.1 percent, is not expected to show much movement.
ADP’s June figures were well above the expectations of many private forecasters, some of whom predicted gains from 68,000 to 95,000.
In all, ADP Employer Services found that private businesses hired more than four times as many workers in June as they did in May. The company on Thursday also slightly downgraded its estimates for May, down to 36,000 from 38,000.
More than half of the June job growth came from small businesses, with ADP finding that companies with fewer than 50 workers hired 88,000 new employees in June. The service-providing sector also had a stronger June than May, adding 130,000 new jobs.
On the public-sector side, Labor announced that initial unemployment claims dropped to 418,000 for the week ending July 2. It also revised its figures for the week ending June 25 up, to 432,000.
Still, unemployment claims have now topped 400,000 for 13 consecutive weeks — a full quarter of a year — and remain higher than the level economists say is reflective of a strong job market.
The four-week average for initial claims, a less volatile measuring stick, stood at 424,750, which was 3,000 fewer than the previous finding.