Private sector creates fewer jobs than expected

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U.S. private-sector employers added fewer jobs than expected in November as superstorm Sandy hit companies in the northeast, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

The ADP National Employment Report showed the private sector added 118,000 jobs during the month. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast a gain of 125,000 jobs.

"Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics in a statement. Zandi helps compile the report.

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"The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm. Abstracting from the storm, the job market turned in a good performance during the month," he said.

Zandi said that underlying growth in private sector jobs was around 150,000 in November after the impact of Sandy is discounted as well as about 60,000 to 70,000 jobs that were brought forward due to the start of the holiday season.

October's private payrolls were revised slightly down to an increase of 157,000 from the previously reported 158,000.

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.

"It's close to what the market was expecting. If Friday's employment report from the U.S. Labor Department comes in similar to this, that would be a good outcome," said Terry Sheehan, economic analyst at Stone and McCarthy Research Associates in Princeton, New Jersey.

That report is expected to show an increase in overall nonfarm payrolls of 93,000 in November based on a Reuters poll of analysts, and a rise in private payrolls of 95,000.

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.