Private companies added jobs at a solid pace in November, providing a positive sign for the Federal Reserve as it prepares to raise interest rates for the first time in more than nine years.
Firms contributed a better-than-expected 217,000 positions for the month, according to the latest count from payroll processing firm ADP and Moody's Analytics. The number was ahead of Wall Street expectations for 190,000 new private sector jobs and topped the 196,000 positions created in October, a number that was revised upward from the initially reported 182,000.
The report comes as the Fed prepares to hike its key rate at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting Dec. 15-16. Wall Street has been waiting on tenterhooks for the Fed to move for the first time since it last hiked rates in mid-2006 and took its key lending rate to near-zero in late 2008.
ADP's count again showed growth strongest in the service sector and small business.