US private payrolls increase in December – ADP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. private employers hired more workers than expected in December, pointing to persistent strength in the labor market that should continue to sustain the economy.

Private payrolls increased by 164,000 jobs last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed on Thursday, the largest monthly increase since August. Data for November was revised slightly lower to show 101,000 jobs added instead of 103,000 as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast private payrolls rising 115,000.

The ADP report, jointly developed with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, was published ahead of the release on Friday of the Labor Department’s more comprehensive and closely watched employment report for December.

The ADP report has been a poor gauge for predicting the private payrolls count in the employment report.

The labor market is steadily slowing in the aftermath of 525 basis points worth of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve since March 2022. The government reported on Wednesday that job openings dropped to nearly a three-year low in November. There were 1.40 vacancies for every unemployed person.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to report that private payrolls increased by 130,000 jobs in December. Total nonfarm payrolls are estimated to have increased by 170,000 jobs after rising 199,000 in the prior month.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)