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US hiring slows in May: ADP survey

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Private-sector hiring slowed somewhat in May, according to payrolls firm ADP, which warned Wednesday that some firms are having trouble finding workers in a tightening labor market.

[WASHINGTON] Private-sector hiring slowed somewhat in May, according to payrolls firm ADP, which warned Wednesday that some firms are having trouble finding workers in a tightening labor market.

Companies added 178,000 jobs in the private sector last month, according to the report, down from the 204,000 in April and a bit below analyst expectations. The ADP report comes ahead of Friday's government jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

US hiring has steadily improved in the last few years, resulting in April in the lowest unemployment rate in more than 17 years.

At the same time, wage inflation has been relatively modest in many sectors, lessening the pressure on the Federal Reserve to quicken the pace of interest rate increases.

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ADP officials said there were signs of wage inflation in some sectors.

"Job growth is strong, but slowing, as businesses are unable to fill a record number of open positions.

"Wage growth is accelerating in response, most notably for young, new entrants and those changing jobs," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "Finding workers is increasingly becoming businesses number one problem."

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, trimmed his estimate for the May US jobs report following the ADP data.

"What's not clear, though, is whether the below-trend numbers for April and, it seems, May, are due to a softening in labor demand, perhaps triggered by all the talk of trade wars, or are due to the shortage of qualified staff," he said.

"On the surface, the data are a little weaker than seems consistent with consensus expectations for payrolls in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Friday," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.

"However, the usual caveat: ADP is far from infallible for signaling the BLS data."

AFP