Economic Report: U.S. private sector job growth softens in May, ADP data shows

The numbers: Private payrolls rose by 128,000 in May, according to the ADP National Employment Report released Thursday. 

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a gain of 299,000 private sector jobs.

The ADP report is produced with Moody’s Analytics.

Key details: By company size, large businesses added 122,000 private-sector jobs in May while small businesses lost 91,000. Medium-sized businesses, defined as firms with 50 to 499 employees, added 97,000 jobs.

Service sector providers added 104,000 jobs in May. Leisure and hospitality added 17,000 workers. Meanwhile, goods producers added 24,000 jobs. Manufacturing added 22,000 jobs.

Big picture: Economists use the ADP report to get an early read on the Labor Department’s report on private payrolls. But often the ADP has not been an accurate predictor. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal forecast a total payroll gain of 328,000 jobs in May and that the unemployment rate will drop to 3.5% from 3.6%. The government’s data will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

Market reaction: Stocks


were set to open higher as oil prices cooled.

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