US data issued Thursday point to robust economic activity in August following strong car sales reports this week - - the private sector added 204,000 jobs in the month and services PMI indicated acceleration in the services sector while the trade deficit narrowed in July.
The US services sector accelerated in August, according to two PMI (purchasing managers' index) reports.
The Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 59.6 in August from 58.7 in July. The August reading is the highest since the revised survey's launch in January 2008.
Also Thursday, Markit a London data index firm said its own service-sector composite PMI stood at 59.5 in August from 60.8 in July.
Private sector employment rose by 204,000 jobs from July to August according to the August ADP National Employment Report which is produced in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics.
The monthly official employment report will be published Friday.
The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
Goods-producing employment rose by 41,000 jobs in August, up from 23,000 jobs gained in July. The construction industry added 15,000 jobs over the month, slightly above last month’s gain. Meanwhile, manufacturing added 23,000 jobs in August, the highest total in that sector since December 2012.
Service-providing employment rose by 164,000 jobs in August, down from 190,000 in July.
The ADP National Employment Report indicates that professional/ business services contributed 51,000 jobs in August, down from 60,000 in July. Expansion in trade/transportation/utilities grew by 28,000, down from July’s 43,000. The 5,000 new jobs added in financial activities was down almost half from last month’s number.
The Department of Labor said Thursday that the number of new applications for jobless benefits rose last week but stayed near 2014 lows, a sign ahead of Friday's jobs report that the labor market continues its steady improvement.
The Wall Street Journal said that initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000 in the week ended August 30. That was slightly above the 300,000 forecast by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out weekly volatility, rose 3,000 to 302,750.
Initial jobless claims, viewed as a proxy for layoffs, fell to a 2014 low of 279,000 in mid-July and have been hovering around 300,000 since then. The last time that regularly happened was in early 2006, at the height of the last economic expansion
The US trade deficit fell 0.6% to $40.5bn in July from June as both exports and imports rose, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Exports gained 0.9% while imports increased 0.7%.