U.S. jobs, services sector data underscore economy's resilience

Wed Dec 3, 2014 2:52pm EST
 
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By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. private companies added workers at a fairly brisk clip in November and the services sector grew strongly, suggesting a slowing global economy is having a limited impact on domestic activity.

Strengthening labor market conditions, however, have yet to spur faster wage growth, other data on Wednesday showed, which could give the Federal Reserve ammunition to maintain its very low interest rate policy for a while.

"With all of the talk about a recession in Japan, possible recession in the euro zone and in Russia, the U.S. economy is looking much more attractive," said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

Payrolls processor ADP said private-sector employment rose by 208,000 last month after increasing by 233,000 in October. Private payrolls have now advanced by more than 200,000 in seven of the last eight months.

The ADP report, which was jointly developed with Moody's Analytics, was released ahead of the government's more comprehensive November employment report on Friday.

Private sector job gains last month were broad-based, though the pace of hiring in both the services and goods-producing sectors slowed a bit. Economists said that did not change their expectations for Friday's report to show a gain of above 200,000 in nonfarm payrolls.

In a separate report, the Institute for Supply Management said its index of services sector activity rose to 59.3 last month from 57.1 in October. The latest reading is just below a post-recession high hit in August.

Any reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity. New orders and order backlogs increased, while a gauge of export orders rose solidly, defying slowing economic growth in China and the euro zone, as well as Japan's recession.   Continued...

 
A man speaks to a job recruiter at the Nassau County Mega Job Fair at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York October 7, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton