Private-sector job growth slowed slightly last month, but employers still added a fairly strong 204,000 net new positions, payroll firm Automatic Data Processing said Thursday.
The figure was a drop from July’s downwardly revised 212,000 and below analysts’ expectations for a gain of about 223,000 positions.
Still, August was the fifth-straight month ADP has said private-sector job growth exceeded 200,000. The data indicate that the labor market is continuing to expand at a robust pace as economists await Friday’s government report on total August job growth.
“Steady as she goes in the job market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in preparing the report. “Businesses continue to hire at a solid pace. Job gains are broad-based across industries and company sizes.”
In another sign of an improving jobs situation, first-time claims for unemployment benefits remained low last week. The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims rose by 4,000 to 302,000.
Analysts expect the Labor Department to report Friday that the economy added 230,000 net new jobs in August, an improvement from the previous month’s 209,000. The unemployment rate is forecast to have ticked down to 6.1 percent last month, matching the nearly six-year low it reached in June.
— Los Angeles Times
● Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) announced that Nevada won a high-stakes battle with four other states for Tesla Motors’ coveted $5 billion battery factory, but the win comes with a hefty price tag — up to $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives over 20 years that state lawmakers still must approve. Sandoval revealed terms of the deal he negotiated with the electric car maker at a Capitol news conference attended by Elon Musk, CEO of California-based Tesla. The governor called it a “monumental announcement that will change Nevada forever.”
● Home improvement retailer Home Depot has been in contact with the Secret Service about a possible major breach of customer and credit card data that came to light this week, a law enforcement individual told Reuters. The Secret Service, which declined to comment, usually is the lead agency in federal criminal investigations into complex breaches of credit card and other consumer data. Home Depot spokeswoman Paula Drake said Wednesday that the retailer is working with IT security firms, including Symantec Corp and FishNet Security, to investigate whether there has been a data breach.
● The richest 10 percent of Americans were the only group whose median incomes rose in the past three years, the Federal Reserve said in a report on consumer finances. The Fed’s “Survey of Consumer Finances” said incomes declined for every other group from 2010 to 2013, widening the gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. The report found that median incomes, adjusted for inflation, for the top 10 percent rose 2 percent, to $223,200 from $217,900. Median income fell 4 percent for the bottom 20 percent, to $15,200 from $15,800. For the middle 20 percent, incomes dropped 6 percent, to $48,700 from $51,800.●
● Online review site Yelp can lower or raise the rating of a business depending on whether it advertises with the company, a federal appeals court ruled in a lawsuit filed by small businesses claiming Yelp used the tactic to try to extort ads from them. Yelp has denied doing that, saying it uses an automated system to cull reviews that determine ratings. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that even if Yelp did manipulate reviews to penalize businesses, the practice would not constitute extortion. The court said businesses do not have a right to positive reviews on Yelp, and that the San Francisco-based company can seek payments for its advertising.
● U.S. services firms expanded in August at the fastest pace on record. The Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 59.6 last month from 58.7 in July. The August figure is the highest recorded since the measure was introduced in January 2008.
— From news services
● 8:30 a.m.: August jobs report.