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U.S. private sector hiring slows slightly but still tops forecasts

A woman fills out an application form from a jewelry and gem company during the Gemological Institute Of America (GIA)'s Jewelry Career Fair in New York July 30, 2012.

SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS

The pace of job creation by U.S. private employers slowed modestly in July to 163,000 new jobs, though the gain still topped economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

The figure from the ADP National Employment Report came in well above forecasts for 120,000 jobs, but was down from June's 172,000 jobs. June was originally reported as 176,000.

The report is jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC.

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"This is another resilient outcome. It does show that things are chugging along and this is pretty respectable," said Sean Incremona, economist at 4Cast Ltd in New York.

The ADP figures come ahead of the government's much more comprehensive labor market report on Friday, which includes both public and private sector employment.

That report is expected to show nonfarm payrolls rose by a modest 100,000 last month, while the unemployment rate is seen staying the same at 8.2 per cent.

"The diversion between nonfarm payrolls is quite worrying and this could do something to lift expectations if it's not distorted by things like initial claims, which were volatile throughout the month," said 4Cast's Incremona.

Economists often refer to the ADP report to fine-tune their expectations for the payrolls numbers, though it is not always accurate in predicting the outcome.

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