U.S. Companies Hire Fewer New Workers Than Expected

Companies in the U.S. added fewer jobs than forecast in May, a sign of uneven progress in the labor market, a private report based on payrolls showed.

The 179,000 increase in employment was the smallest in four months and followed a 215,000 gain the prior month that was less than initially estimated, according to figures today from the Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Research Institute. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for May advance of 210,000.

Some companies are confident they can meet demand without adding as many workers to headcounts after the economy shrank last quarter for the first time since 2011. Faster job growth that propels bigger wage gains would give consumers the wherewithal to boost spending, which makes up about 70 percent of the economy.

“It’s really an issue of more of the same,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, said before the report. “We still have a very large amount of ground to make up for in the labor market that was lost during the downturn.”

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from payroll gains of 120,000 to 275,000 after a previously reported April increase of 220,000.

Goods-producing industries, which include manufacturers and construction companies, increased headcount by 29,000 in May, according to today’s report. Construction employment climbed by 14,000 and factory payrolls rose by 10,000, today’s report showed. Payrolls at service providers advanced by 150,000.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg News

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