US Jobs Market Brightens, Private Firms Hire 201,000 Workers In August

People wait in line at a jobs fair in New York Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Private businesses added 201,000 jobs in August, far more than expected and a positive sign before Friday’s release of the US government’s monthly jobs tally.

According to the latest report from payroll processor Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers, the jobs market achieved its biggest gain in five months in August, easily beating economists’ forecasts. ADP also increased July’s estimated jobs gain from 163,000 to 173,000.

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its latest nonfarm payroll data, a closely watched tally of government as well as private sector jobs.

The nonfarm payroll figures have become a monthly flashpoint in the 2012 election and few are likely to receive as much attention as Friday’s, which will follow president Barack Obama’s closing speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte.

Last month ADP’s figures matched the nonfarm figures almost exactly but overall they have proven to be a spotty guide to the BLS numbers, which include government jobs, which have been heavily cut in recent years. Economists polled by Reuters are predicting nonfarm payrolls increased by 125,000 in August.

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