The numbers: U.S. private sector employers added 208,000 jobs in September, up from a revised 185,000 in the prior month, according to the ADP job report released Wednesday.
Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected a gain of 200,000 jobs, up from the initial August estimate of 132,000.
Key details: Annual pay was up 7.8% in September, up from a revised 7.7% in the prior month, ADP said.
Wages for job changes lost momentum in September, with their annual pay down to 15.7% from 16.2% in August.
Jobs for medium-sized businesses had the largest gain – rising 90,000 jobs. Large firms added 60,000 jobs and small businesses added 58,000.
Big picture: Last month, ADP introduced new methodology to its report and is no longer trying to forecast the government’s employment data, which will be released on Friday. But economists said the data sets the tone for the government’s report on Friday. Economists expect the Labor Department to report that payroll growth, including the public sector, rose by 275,000 in September, down from 315,000 in the prior month.
What ADP said: “We are continuing to see steady job gains,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP. With schools and child care reopened, working families are under less stress, she said. This may have led some workers to return to the labor force. “It’s probably the most normal labor market we’ve seen in some time,”
What private economists are saying: “Looking through the normal monthly volatile and some difficult seasonal adjustments in August and September, we see a slower trend rate of job gains. The last three months averaged 220k, notably lower than the six- and 12-month averages of 309,000 and 350,000,” said economists at Contingent Macro.