7:15am

Wed August 3, 2011
Economy

Private Hiring Up, But So Are Layoffs

Two reports sent mixed signals about the job market Wednesday.

Companies added 114,000 jobs in July, but job cuts rose to a 16-month high, according to two private reports. The numbers come two days before Friday's official July jobs report from the Labor Department.

Payroll processor ADP said employment in the services sector rose 121,000 last month, but goods-producing jobs fell by 7,000. The report "suggests that employment continued to advance at a moderate pace in July," but employment is decelerating, ADP said.

A separate report from the global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said a "sudden and unexpected burst" in company downsizing accounted for 66,414 announced job cuts in July. That's up 60 percent from the previous month.

Several reports have pointed to continued economic weakness. Growth slowed sharply in the first half of the year. Gross domestic product increased at a annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter after growing just 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2011. And consumer spending declined in June for the first time in nearly two years.

"The slowdown in employment makes more sense in light of last week's revised GDP numbers showing the economy grew slower late last year and this year than initially reported," ADP said.

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