WASHINGTON - American businesses stepped up hiring last month, led by strong gains in retail, finance and other service industries, a private survey found.
Payroll processor ADP says that companies added 217,000 jobs last month, the most in five months. Service sector firms added 204,000, while manufacturers hired just 6,000.
The figures come just two days before the government issues its official jobs report for November. Economists forecast that it will show employers added 200,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained 5 percent.
Steady consumer spending is supporting greater hiring in services, which includes higher-paying professional positions such as information technology and engineering jobs.
The ADP survey covers only private businesses and frequently diverges from the official figures. Last month, ADP's hiring tally was nearly 100,000 lower than the government's.