NEWS
08/05/2015 08:49 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 01:12 EDT

Survey: Slower pace of hiring in July, as US businesses add 185,000 jobs

WASHINGTON — The rate of hiring by U.S. businesses slowed in July, according to a private survey. But job gains remained at a solid level, which should help boost overall economic growth.

Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that its survey shows that companies added 185,000 jobs last month, down from 229,000 in June.

Job growth since early 2014 has lifted home sales to their strongest pace in eight years. Construction firms added 15,000 jobs last month. But low oil prices weighed on the manufacturing sector, which added just 2,000 jobs. Energy firms have cut back on their orders for equipment, machinery and pipeline as oil prices have stayed below $50 a barrel.

The decline in oil prices "probably will result in extended layoffs in the energy sector," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. The result of those layoffs will be fewer job gains this year compared to 2015.

Hiring cooled off last month across several industries. The business services sector hired 42,000 workers in June, down from 61,000 in June. The pace of hiring also slipped in the financial industry and in the trade, transportation and utilities sectors.

On Friday, the government will issue its official jobs report for July. Economists forecast it will show that employers added 225,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate held at 5.3 per cent for the second straight month.

The ADP survey covers only private businesses, however, and frequently diverges from the official figures.

Josh Boak, The Associated Press