Survey: US business hiring picks up in May to 201,000

Jun 3, 2015, 9:50 AM
In this April 2, 2015, photo, David Dunn from Chickamauga, Ga., right, stands in line with hundreds...
In this April 2, 2015, photo, David Dunn from Chickamauga, Ga., right, stands in line with hundreds of other job seekers at The Colonnade in Ringgold, Ga., to attend a huge 15-county job fair. Payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in May on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP) THE DAILY CITIZEN OUT; NOOGA.COM OUT; CLEVELAND DAILY BANNER OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT
(Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies stepped up hiring in May, a private survey found, evidence that employers remain confident in the economy even after it contracted at the start of the year.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 201,000 jobs last month, up from just 165,000 in the previous month. April’s increase was the smallest in a year and a half.

The figures suggest that the economy is recovering after it shrank at a 0.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter. On Friday, the government will issue its official jobs report for May. Economists forecast it will show that employers added 227,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained 5.4 percent.

“The relative strength in today’s report is an encouraging sign that the labor market, and the economy, is reaccelerating,” Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at brokerage BTIG LLC, said in a note to clients.

The ADP survey covers only private businesses, however, and frequently diverges from the official figures.

Employers added jobs last year at the strongest pace in 15 years, putting 3.1 million people to work, or an average of 260,000 jobs a month. Yet hiring has slowed a bit in 2015, with job gains averaging 194,000 a month through April.

Much of that slowdown occurred in March, when only 85,000 net jobs were created. Hiring rebounded to 223,000 in April.

The Federal Reserve is closely watching the health of the job market as it considers when to begin raising the short-term interest rate it controls from nearly zero.

Construction companies added 27,000 jobs, ADP said, the most in four months. That’s a sign that developers are ramping up homebuilding, an important driver for the economy.

Manufacturers cut 5,000 jobs, the third straight decline. The drop in factory jobs likely reflects the impact of the stronger dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive overseas and cuts into export sales.

Services were the main driver of job growth, adding 192,000 jobs. Those gains were led by shipping, retail, and professional and business services, which includes higher-paying industries such as accounting and engineering.

Other recent reports have painted a mixed picture of the economy. Consumers remain cautious and are reluctant to spend their savings from lower gas prices, which are about $1 a gallon cheaper than a year ago. On Monday, the government said consumer spending was unchanged in April. Instead, the saving rate rose to 5.6 percent from 5.2 percent.

Yet Americans were willing to spend more on cars last month. Auto sales rose 2 percent in May to 1.64 million cars and trucks, according to Autodata Corp. That was the fastest sales pace since July 2005.

And a survey of manufacturing firms showed that factory activity grew at a faster pace in May than the previous month, driven higher by more new orders and greater hiring.

Overall, analysts expect the economy will expand at about a 2 percent annual pace in the second quarter. That would leave growth in the first half of the year barely above 0.5 percent, down from a 3.6 percent pace in the second half of last year.

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

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
3 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Survey: US business hiring picks up in May to 201,000