U.S. private employers added 135,000 jobs in September, topping economists' expectations even as Hurricane Harvey and Irma "significantly impacted smaller retailers," a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
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The September reading was smallest increase since October 2016. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 125,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from a decrease of 25,000 jobs to a gain of 206,000.
Private payroll gains in the month earlier were revised down to 228,000 from an originally reported 237,000 increase.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment.
Economists polled by Reuters are looking for U.S. private payroll employment to have grown by 83,000 jobs in September, down from a gain of 165,000 the month before. Total non-farm employment is expected to have increased by 90,000.
The unemployment rate is forecast to stay steady at the 4.4 percent recorded a month earlier.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)