The numbers: Private-sector employment rose by 235,000 in December, payroll processor ADP said Thursday, in a sign that many companies are still hiring and the labor market remains strong.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a gain of 153,000 private sector jobs.
ADP reported a 182,000 increase in November.
Annual pay was trending up 7.3 from a year ago for “job-stayers,” ADP said, but the was the smallest increase since the data began being collected three years ago.
Big picture: The economy has slowed and businesses aren’t hiring quite as many workers as they were last year, but the U.S. labor market is still extremely robust. Layoffs are near record lows and the unemployment rate sits at just 3.7%.
That’s too strong for the Federal Reserve. The central bank worries the labor shortage is driving up wages and will make it harder to bring down high inflation. The Fed wants to see hiring slow even further and ease the upward pressure on wages.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
were set to open lower in Thursday trades