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Private companies topped expectations for job creation in September, adding 200,000 new positions thanks in part to a boost from large companies.
Small firms with fewer than 50 employees have been the primary engine of job creation during the post-recession recovery, but that turned last month, according to a report Wednesday from ADP and Moody's Analytics.
Companies with more than 500 workers added 106,000 new positions for the month, with medium-sized businesses adding 56,000 and small firms contributing just 37,000.
"This is a machine. The job market is just pumping out a lot of jobs," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's.
The total was better than market expectations of 194,000 and was a slight increase from the upwardly revised 186,000 in August.
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"Businesses with more than 1,000 employees contributed over half of the job gains in September, despite weakness in energy and manufacturing," Ahu Yildirmaz, head of the ADP Research Institute, said in a statement. "The largest companies appear to be starting to overcome the impacts of weak global demand and the high dollar, while the smallest companies may have pulled back as concerns about the resiliency of the U.S. economy grew and consumer confidence softened."
Manufacturing lost 15,000 positions for the month, while trade, transportation and utilities led the way with 39,000 new jobs.
As has been the case throughout the recovery, services were by far the leading job producer with 188,000, while goods producers added 12,000.
Elsewhere in sectors, construction added 35,000, professional and business services grew by 29,000 and financial activities were responsible for 15,000 of the new positions.
The ADP/Moody's report comes two days before the government releases its nonfarm payrolls, which is expected to show 206,000 total new jobs with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5.1 percent.
Economists occasionally will modify their estimates for the payrolls report based on the ADP count, though there often are wide disparities between the two counts.