U.S. jobs outlook improves as campaign heats up

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Thursday’s government data on the job market exceeded economists’ expectations. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 365,000. And ADP, a payroll provider, estimated that companies added 201,000 jobs last month, the most since March.

A third report found that service sector companies expanded at a faster pace last month. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said its services index rose to 53.7 from 52.6 in July. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. Service businesses such as stores, hotels and financial companies reported sharp hiring gains.

Still, the ISM’s report hasn’t always closely matched the government’s more authoritative employment report. And the ADP survey covers only private-sector hiring.

At least 200,000 jobs a month are needed to lower the unemployment rate. The economy has averaged only 150,000 new jobs a month since the start of 2011.

“Clearly, this is not an economy on track to the fast lane,” said Chris Jones, an economist at TD Bank.

A weak employment report could nudge the Federal Reserve to announce some new action to boost growth after its meeting next week.

Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks