U.S. private job losses down, factory orders up

NEW YORK (Reuters) By Steven C. Johnson – The United States lost fewer private sector jobs in August than in the prior month while companies also planned fewer layoffs, suggesting modest improvement in the beleaguered U.S. labor market.

Tentative signs of recovery were also evident in data showing U.S. factories saw an increase in new orders in July for the fourth straight month, though the rise was smaller than economists had expected.

U.S. stocks were slightly lower on the day while the dollar rose against the yen and euro and U.S. government debt traded little changed.

Private employers cut 298,000 job positions last month, according to the ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC.

That beat the 360,000 job losses seen in July, a month in which ADP initially said the economy shed 371,000 jobs.

“It’s fairly good news. It could have been much worse,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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