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Firms add 215,000 jobs in Nov., beat estimates

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ADP’s estimate of private-sector job gains for November was the highest for any month since last November.

Businesses added 215,000 jobs in November, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday, fueling hopes that the government’s closely watched employment report this week will continue a recent string of solid gains.

The ADP survey, along with decent-to-strong reports on the broader economy and home sales, painted a portrait of an economy that’s largely shrugging off the effects of the government shutdown and ongoing budget battles in Congress,

The increase in private payrolls was the most in a year and soundly beat economists’ consensus forecast that 165,000 jobs were added. Economists anticipate that the Labor Department on Friday will report about 180,000 employment gains in its survey, which tallies net additions among businesses as well as federal, state and local governments.

The two jobs reports broadly track similar trends, but ADP has had mixed success in forecasting the Labor tally. ADP, for instance, said businesses added 130,000 jobs in October, while Labor reported 212,000 and 204,000 gains overall, including government positions.

In November, small businesses added 102,000 jobs; large companies, 65,000; and midsize ones, 48,000, ADP reported.

Trade, transportation and utilities led job gains with 45,000. Professional and business services added 38,000. Construction and manufacturing companies, two critical sources of middle-wage jobs, each added 18,000.

“Employers across all industries and company sizes looked through the political battle in Washington. If anything, job growth appears to be picking up,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which helps ADP compile the survey.

Monthly job growth averaged a better-than-expected 202,000 from August through October, according to Labor’s figures. The labor market and the economy have proved resilient despite the 16-day government shutdown in October and the prospect of another budget standoff in Congress in the next six weeks.

In a separate report on economic activity from early October to mid-November, the Federal Reserve said the shutdown dampened manufacturing and tourism in some areas, and many retailers had a tepid outlook for the holiday sales season.

The economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace as housing and the auto and technology industries continued to support a pickup in activity, the Fed said in its Beige Book.

Named for the color of its cover, the report, released every six weeks, provides an anecdotal snapshot of the economy. The latest edition could be pivotal because it will help the Fed decide whether to dial down its financial stimulus at its Dec. 17-18 meeting.

Economic activity expanded moderately in the New York, Atlanta, Cleveland, Richmond, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Dallas Fed bank districts. Modest growth was reported in Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City and San Francisco, the report said.

The housing recovery, though, remains a bright spot. New home sales rose 25% in October, suggesting that the critical sector continues to gain strength. Builders sold homes at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 444,000 in October after a revised estimate of 354,000 for September, the Census Bureau said. That beat economists’ projections of 425,000 for October.

 (Paul Davidson, USA TODAY 6:41 p.m. EST December 4, 2013)


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