U.S. businesses added 178,000 jobs in May, according to a survey, a solid total but below the average monthly gains accumulated over the winter.
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Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that hiring was strong in construction, education and health care, and professional and business services, which includes accounting, engineering and legal services. Retailers cut jobs.
The figures suggest companies are hiring at a healthy pace but may be pulling back as the number of unemployed dwindles, making it harder to find workers to fill jobs. From November through March, monthly job gains averaged well over 200,000.
The report arrives two days before the government releases the official monthly employment figures. Economists forecast that Friday's official report will show employers added 190,000 jobs, according to a survey by data provider FactSet.