Hopes for a steadily improving job market were dampened by an uptick in new jobless claims and weaker-than-expected payroll expansion in May.
Payroll firm ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) released data indicating that private businesses hired only 133,000 new workers in May. While that was up from April’s lackluster 113,000 new hires, it fell short of economists’ forecast of 148,000 new hires, Reuters noted.
The ADP numbers come as the Labor Department reported today that initial claims for unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 383,000 last week. That marked the seventh jump in unemployment claims in eight weeks.
An economist cited by Reuters said that the two reports show the U.S. economy was growing at “an anemic pace” as employers were becoming more hesitant about hiring new works.
Analysts now wait for tomorrow’s May jobs report. Economists predict the government will report 150,000 non-farm jobs created during the month, compared to 115,000 in April.
Adding to the bad news, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago said that factory production in the Midwest slowed in May. The Institute’s business barometer slid from 56.2 in April to 52.7 in May.
The Commerce Department also revised down its estimate for U.S. gross domestic product for the first quarter from 2.2% to 1.9%. That was down markedly from the 3% growth seen in the final quarter of last year.