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September 5, 2019 10:45 AM, EDT

Companies Add Most Jobs in Four Months

Job search Gabby Jones/Bloomberg News

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U.S. companies added the most jobs in four months in August while jobless claims stayed low last week, reports showed Sept. 5, suggesting the labor market remains healthy despite a slowdown in manufacturing and global weakness.

Businesses’ payrolls increased by 195,000 after a downwardly revised 142,000 gain in July, according to the ADP Research Institute. The latest data compared with the median estimate of economists for a 148,000 increase. A separate Labor Department report Sept. 5 showed filings for unemployment benefits were little changed last week, near the lowest level since 1969.

The ADP report indicates hiring continued apace in August and may bode well for the Labor Department’s employment report Sept. 6, which is forecast to show steady payroll gains and a jobless rate that’s holding near a half-century low. Economists often look to the ADP data to help refine estimates for the government’s figures.

Investors, economists and policymakers are watching closely for signs that the U.S.-China trade war and global growth weakness are spreading more broadly through the U.S. economy. A manufacturing gauge this week signaled contraction for the first time in three years.

Goods-producing jobs rose by 11,000, led by factories, the ADP figures showed. Employment at service providers increased by 184,000, with significant gains in health care in social assistance and leisure and hospitality.