U.S. private employers added 153,000 jobs in December, fewer than in November, but the labor market remained solid, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Thursday.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 170,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 140,000 to 200,000.
Private payroll gains in the month earlier were revised down to 215,000 from an originally reported 216,000 increase.
The report is jointly developed with Moody’s Analytics.
“Job growth remains strong but is slowing,” Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics’ chief economist, said in a statement.
Private industries produced a monthly average of 174,000 jobs in 2016, slower than a 209,000 monthly pace in 2015, according to ADP.
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