The U.S. private sector added 163,000 jobs in July, Automatic Data Processing said in its latest ADP National Employment Report.
For some analysts, the July ADP report suggests job growth is solid enough to stave off fears of another economic downturn.
"Now payroll gains appear to have settled down, averaging a little above 150,000 in June and July," said Paul Ashworth, U.S. chief economist for Capital Economics. "Not great, but just about enough to keep the unemployment rate on a gradual downward trend."
ADP also lowered its estimate for jobs added between the months of May and June, pushing its initial estimate down from 176,000 jobs to 172,000 positions.
During the survey, small businesses added 73,000 staff members, while medium-sized businesses gained 67,000 jobs. In addition, large firms increased their payrolls by 23,000 positions. The goods producing sector alone added 15,000 employees, while the service sector increased its payrolls by 148,000 jobs.
Only 6,000 manufacturing jobs were added during the survey period.
"July’s increase was the thirtieth consecutive monthly advance, and higher than the consensus forecast for today’s release and for the official jobs number due out Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics," said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers. "Although recent employment gains likely have been restrained by heightened uncertainty over the European financial crisis and by growing concerns about domestic fiscal policy, July's increase of 163,000 new jobs reinforces that the pace of hiring has picked back up after slowing sharply during the spring."
Prakken added, "This gain in private employment is strong enough to suggest that the national unemployment rate may have declined in July. Today’s estimate from ADP, if re-enforced by a similar reading on employment from the BLS on Friday, will alleviate concerns that the economy has slipped into a downturn."