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US saw better-than-forecast private hiring last month: survey

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The United States has added millions of jobs in 2021 as vaccines allowed business to return to normal, but the fast-spreading Delta variant of Covid-19 has cut into the progress (AFP/Frederic J. BROWN)

US private firms added 568,000 jobs last month, payroll services firm ADP said Wednesday, much more than expected and potentially a sign of strong employment figures to come.

The survey is considered a preview of the Labor Department employment report due out Friday that will update the country's unemployment rate, and September's hiring came after an undershoot in August's ADP data, when the private sector added a downwardly revised 340,000 jobs.

Last month's report showed strong hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector, which continues to recover after taking the brunt of mass layoffs caused by Covid-19 in 2020.

While the economy has added millions of jobs this year as vaccines allow businesses to return to normal operations, the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus has caused rehiring to waver in recent months.

The private hiring figures could foretell a strong jobs report, but Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics warned "ADP is far from consistent in predicting changes in the (government) payrolls data given differences in methodologies."

Big businesses added the most positions at 390,000, while medium-sized enterprises hired 115,000 and small businesses made up the balance.

The service sector was the overall driver of the gains, with 466,000 jobs added versus 102,000 in goods-producing industries.

Leisure and hospitality added 226,000 jobs, the most of any category, while professional and business services and education and health services both added upwards of 60,000.

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