Services sector reflects US growth


That view was reinforced by other data yesterday showing only a slight increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week and a decline in the trade deficit to its lowest point in six months in July.

“The story line of growth momentum at least being sustained and at best picking up this quarter has more or less been confirmed, and this is certainly encouraging,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.

The ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls increased by 204,000 workers last month after rising by 212,000 in July.

While that was below economists’ expectations for a gain of 220,000 jobs, it marked the fifth straight month of private sector employment gains above 200,000. The increases in payrolls were also broad-based.

The report is jointly developed with Moody’s Analytics.

The data was released ahead of the government’s more comprehensive employment report today. Non-farm payrolls are expected to have increased by 225,000 last month after advancing by 209,000 in July, according to a Reuters survey.

In a separate report, the Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 59.6 last month, which it said was the highest reading since its inception in January 2008. That compared to a reading of 58.7 in July.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the vast services sectors. A subindex of service industry jobs increased solidly, which bodes well for August payrolls.

The upbeat jobs market picture was also captured in another report from the Labour Department that showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increasing by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000 for the week ended August 30, but still at levels consistent with tightening conditions.

The jobs market is being closely monitored for clues as to when the Federal Reserve will start tightening monetary policy, having kept its benchmark overnight lending rate near zero since December 2008.

The strength the US economy has exhibited in recent months stands in sharp contrast to the euro zone, which is flirting with recession and deflation. The European Central Bank yesterday cut interest rates to new record lows in an attempt to spur stronger activity.

In a third report, the Commerce Department said the US trade deficit fell 0.6 per cent to $40.5 billion in July, the smallest gap since January. June’s trade deficit was revised to $40.8bn.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the deficit to widen to $42.2bn from a previously reported $41.5bn shortfall in June.

When adjusted for inflation, the deficit narrowed to $48.2bn, the smallest gap since December 2013, from $48.9bn in June.



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