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Private sector job creation kept up its recent pace in November, though the 208,000 new jobs was a shade below expectations, according to ADP.
Economists were looking for the report to show 220,000 new jobs. It was, though, the sixth consecutive month of 200,000-plus job creation as the labor market continues to mend.
Services dominated the picture, with 176,000 new jobs, compared to 32,000 in goods-producing, though the number was off from the 187,000 the previous month. Trade, transportation and utilities led the sectors with 49,000, while professional and business services was the next best with 37,000 new positions.
"Steady as she goes in the job market. Monthly job gains remain consistently over 200,000," Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said in a statement. Moody's works with ADP to put together the monthly private jobs total.
Small business—with less than 50 employees—also continued its lead role, adding 101,000 jobs. Medium-sized firms, or those with between 50 and 499 employees, saw a steep dropoff, from 122,000 in October to 65,000 in November.
October's total number saw a slight upward revision, from 230,000 to 233,000.
The ADP report serves as a precursor to Friday's monthly nonfarm payrolls report, a data set Wall Street watches closely to gauge the progress of the labor market and the impact it will have on Federal Reserve monetary policy.
Economists expect that report to show the economy added 225,000 jobs, compared to October's 214,000.
Despite the miss to estimates, the ADP number supports solid payrolls growth, according to Capital Economics.
"Stepping back a bit from November's data, arguably more important is that both the ADP and official measure of payrolls have risen by more than 200,000 in at least seven of the past eight months," Capital's senior U.S. economist Paul Dales said in a note. "We see no reason why that can't continue, thereby forcing the unemployment rate lower and putting more pressure on the Fed to raise interest rates earlier rather than later."
Capital has an above-consensus call of 250,000 for Friday's number.