Economic Report: Private sector job growth in September is strongest in three months: ADP

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The numbers: The pace of U.S. private sector job growth in September was the strongest in three months. Private-sector employment rose by 749,000 jobs, Automatic Data Processing Inc reported Wednesday.The gain was above the forecast from economists surveyed by Econoday of a gain of 650,000 jobs. Firms added a revised 481,000 jobs in August and 216,000 in July.

What happened: By company size, job growth at small firms job continued to lag behind bigger firms. Small businesses added 192,000 jobs in September, while medium firms added 259,000 jobs and large firms adding 297,000 jobs.

The service sector added 552,000 jobs, while goods-producing firms added 196,000

Big picture: The government will release its September job report on Friday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expect job growth this month to moderate to 800,000 from 1.37 million in August. It will be the last job report prior to the presidential election. The jobless rate has fallen to 8.4% in August from nearly 15% in April. But the pace of improvement has slowed in recent month and jobless claims have remained elevated. Economists also note that ADP has undershot the government’s first estimate of job growth in each of the past five months.

Market reaction: Stocks were expected to open lower on Wednesday after the fractious presidential debate last night. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.47%   fell 131 points on Tuesday.

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