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US Private Sector Sheds More Jobs Than Expected: ADP

WASHINGTON — The US private sector shed jobs at a slower pace for the eighth consecutive month in November as the economy emerges from recession, and the drop was sharper than expected, ADP data showed Wednesday.

(AFP/Getty Images/File/Spencer Platt) Payrolls firm ADP said the nonfarm sector lost 169,000 jobs last month, 26,000 fewer than in October.

The reading was worse than the average analyst forecast of 150,000 job losses as businesses struggled amid persistent tight credit conditions and worries about the strength of the nascent recovery.

The poor ADP survey, a snapshot of nonfarm private employment that offers a clue to the momentum of the labor market, comes ahead of the official monthly labor report Friday that includes government jobs.

Most analysts expect the Labor Department to report the unemployment rate held steady at 10.2 percent in November -- a 26-year high -- and the economy shed 120,000 nonfarm jobs, down from 190,000 in October.

"Although overall economic activity is stabilizing, employment usually trails economic activity, so it is likely to decline for at least a few more months," ADP said.

That outlook was more pessimistic than the Federal Reserve, which forecast in late November that the unemployment rate would begin to fall in January.

According to ADP, the vast services sector, representing more than 85 percent of US nonfarm employment, shed 81,000 jobs in November, up a tick from 79,000.

By contrast, job losses in the goods-producing sector dropped to 88,000 from 116,000 in October, with employment in the manufacturing sector falling 44,000, the smallest decline since May 2008, the ADP noted.

The ADP report highlighted the steep hurdles to economic recovery as consumers curb spending, which drives two-thirds of output, amid job insecurity and losses in home values and investment portfolios.

To address the problem, President Barack Obama has called a "jobs forum" Thursday at the White House that will gather business leaders, including Google boss Eric Schmidt and Disney chief Bob Iger, economists such as Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman and labor chiefs.

Amid growing calls from Democrats in Congress for government action, since unemployment topped 10 percent in October, Obama must also balance long-term concern over soaring US budget deficits, which could constrain any new spending.

The White House argues that a 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus plan passed early this year has likely saved or created a million jobs, and prevented an even worse unemployment crisis.

But Republicans assail the White House with calls of "where are the jobs?" alleging that officials are cooking the figures and have done more to safeguard federal government jobs rather than create new ones in the private sector.

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