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June 5, 2019 10:30 AM, EDT

Companies Add Fewest Jobs Since 2010, ADP Data Show

Jobs David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News

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Companies in May added the fewest U.S. workers in any month since 2010, suggesting a potential pullback in the labor market amid weakness in some parts of the economy.

Private payrolls increased by 27,000 after a downwardly revised 271,000 gain in April, according to data released June 5 by ADP Research Institute. That compares with the median estimate of 185,000 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The data suggest payroll gains in June 7 jobs report in the Labor Department could be lower than expected, which might add to investor bets that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year to shore up the economy. A recent string of weak reports on retail sales, factory orders and home purchases indicate growth is slowing as the trade war weighs on businesses.

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Goods-producing industries slumped, highlighted by a 36,000 decline in jobs in construction — the biggest drop since 2010 — along with losses in manufacturing and in natural resources and mining, according to the report. Small firms also are feeling pain, with payrolls at businesses with fewer than 50 employees dropping by 52,000, the most in nine years.

The employment picture may face further headwinds in coming months as companies deal with potential supply chain issues and pinched margins amid intensifying tensions with some the United States’ largest trading partners. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all imports from Mexico starting June 10, with the levies escalating unless the nation stops migrants from crossing illegally into the United States.