Private sector job creation slowed a touch in August, missing expectations though roughly maintaining the pace of expansion so far in 2014. A report from ADP and Moody's Analytics showed employment growth of 204,000 positions, off from the downwardly revised 212,000 in July and well off the 297,000 in June. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected the report to show 220,000 new positions. Job creation was strongest in the service sector, which added 164,000, well off the 190,000 level from the previous month. Professional services added 51,000, which was 9,000 less than July, while trade, transportation and utilities contributed 28,000, off from the 43,000 in July. The data sets the stage for Friday's nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to show 204,000 new jobs. Meanwhile, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but remained at levels consistent with a tightening labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000 for the week ended Aug. 30, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
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- Jeff Cox, CNBC.com, with Reuters