WASHINGTON: US firms hired at a rapid pace in October, with strong gains in the services and goods sectors, according to a monthly survey released on Wednesday (Oct 31).
Despite the impact of two hurricanes, and a persistent shortage of workers, private companies added 227,000 employees this month, the fifth month with gains of 200,000 or more, according to payroll services firm ADP's National Employment Report.
That was well above the 180,000 consensus forecast, and better than the 218,000 increase posted in September, which was revised down from the original report.
"Despite a significant shortage in skilled talent, the labour market continues to grow," said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.
The increase was boosted by the 189,000 rise in the dominant services sector, with 38,000 added by goods-producing firms, including 17,000 each in manufacturing and construction.
The report is scrutinised ahead of the government's official employment report, which is due Friday and which economists project will show a gain of 190,000 non-farm jobs.
However, the two surveys are frequently out of step and last month the difference was about 100,000 positions.
Yildirmaz noted that in the struggle to attract and retain employees, larger employers have an advantage "as they are more apt to provide the competitive wages and strong benefits employees desire."
The ADP report is derived from actual payroll data and covers nearly 24 million workers.
Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said he was surprised not to see more of a slowdown from the impact of the Hurricane Florence but the ADP data do not capture Hurricane Michael while the government data will.
"We'd be very surprised to see Friday's headlines as strong as the ADP data but with hurricanes making landfall in the survey weeks in both September and August - that has never happened before, as far as we know - we're braced for anything," he said in a research note.