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US businesses add 163k workers in August

US businesses add 163k workers in August

Private sector companies added 163,000 workers to their payrolls in August, according to a report released Thursday, a solid gain that fell below economists’ predictions for the month.

The report from ADP Research Institute and Moody’s Analytics showed a strong but slowing job market in August after nonfarm businesses added 217,000 workers in July. ADP reported last month that private sector firms added 219,000 employees in July, but revised that total down in Thursday’s release.

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Economists polled by Reuters projected employers to hire 190,000 workers in August. While the ADP and Moody’s report came in well below that prediction, both firms touted the strength of the overall job market.

“Although we saw a small slowdown in job growth the market remains incredibly dynamic,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, added, “The job market is hot. Employers are aggressively competing to hold onto their existing workers and to find new ones.”

Midsize business with 50 to 499 employees outpaced small and large companies, adding 111,000 workers to their payrolls. Businesses with more than 500 employees added 31,000 workers, while firms with fewer than 50 employees added 21,000 workers.

“Small businesses are struggling the most in this competition, as they increasingly can’t fill open positions,” Zandi said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release its August jobs report Friday morning and is expected to announce a gain of roughly 190,000 jobs. The July jobs report showed a gain of 157,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent.

The number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment benefits also fell last week to the lowest level since December 1969. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 203,000 for the week ending Sept. 1, a drop of 10,000 from the previous week.