U.S. private job growth slowed sharply in July, pointing to a loss of momentum in the economy heading into the third quarter that could temper expectations of a September interest rate hike.
Other economic data on Wednesday showed a widening of the trade deficit in June as solid domestic demand in the second quarter and a strong dollar sucked in imports of food and automobiles.
“Job growth is strong, but it has moderated since the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, even at this slower pace of growth, the labor market is fast approaching full employment,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Private employers hired 185,000 workers last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed, well below economists’ expectations for an increase of 215,000.
June’s private payroll gains were revised down to 229,000 from the previously reported 237,000.