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U.S. companies added workers at a healthy clip in November, suggesting employers continue to chip away at filling a near-record number of open positions.
Businesses’ payrolls increased by 534,000 last month after a 570,000 gain in October, according to ADP Research Institute data released Dec. 1. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 525,000 rise.
The figures suggest steady improvement in a labor market where skills mismatches, job switching and pandemic-related factors are still making it difficult for employers to attract and retain workers. Total employment as measured by ADP remains well below its pre-pandemic level, and the emerging omicron variant represents a risk to labor force participation.
The data precedes the Dec. 3 monthly employment report from the Labor Department, which is forecast to show that private payrolls increased by 525,000 in November.
“The labor market recovery continued to power through its challenges last month,” Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Service providers, which are more vulnerable to the pandemic, have dominated job gains this year. It’s too early to tell if the omicron variant could potentially slow the jobs recovery in coming months.”
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Service-provider employment increased 424,000 in November, led by leisure and hospitality. Employment at professional and business services rose by the most since June 2020. Transportation employment also posted a strong advance.
Payrolls at goods producers rose by 110,000, reflecting sizable gains in manufacturing and construction.
Employment at companies with at least 500 workers increased by 277,000 in November. Small businesses posted a gain of 115,000.
ADP’s payroll data represent firms employing nearly 26 million workers in the U.S.
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