Private sector hiring slumps in September

WASHINGTON - U.S. businesses added 154,000 jobs in September, the slowest pace of hiring since April, a private survey found.

Payroll processor ADP said manufacturers cut jobs for the eighth straight month, and professional and business services, which include high-paying jobs such as accountants and engineers, added the fewest jobs in five months.

The modest job gain adds to the mixed signals from recent economic reports. Consumer spending slipped in August to its lowest level since March, yet consumer confidence has jumped to a nine-year high.

The ADP data cover only private businesses and often diverge from the official figures. Economists forecast that the government’s jobs report, to be released Friday, will show a gain of 175,000 jobs, according to data provider FactSet. The unemployment rate is expected to remain 4.9 percent.