Companies add jobs at healthy clip in September

WASHINGTON - U.S. businesses continued hiring at a solid pace in September, according to a private survey. The result marks the the sixth straight month of solid gains.

Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 213,000 jobs last month, up slightly from 202,000 in August. Job gains above 200,000 are usually enough to lower the unemployment rate.

The figures suggest the government's jobs report on Friday could show a rebound in hiring. The government said employers added only 142,000 jobs in August. But the ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report. ADP's August figure was much higher than the government's.

"The ADP survey is by no means a perfect predicator of official payrolls and we are reluctant to place much weight on it. Nonetheless, monthly gains in payrolls of more than 200,000 are consistent with the recent strength of the activity data and the fall in the number of initial jobless claims to a 14-year low," said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at research firm Capital Economics in a note to clients. "As such, all the evidence suggests that the slowdown in official payrolls in August was just temporary."

Economists surveyed by FactSet forecast that the government's report will show 215,000 jobs were added in September, while the unemployment rate remained 6.1 percent.