Washington — U.S. companies added 230,000 jobs in October, the most in four months and a sign that businesses are still willing to hire despite signs of slowing growth overseas.
Payroll processer ADP said Wednesday that the job gains were slightly ahead of the 225,000 added in September, which was revised up from an initial estimate of 213,000. Job gains above 200,000 are usually enough to lower the unemployment rate.
The figures indicate that the government's jobs report on Friday could show a healthy pace of hiring. The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.
Economists forecast that the government's report will show that all employers, including government agencies, also added 230,000 jobs in October, according to a survey by FactSet.
The job gains in the ADP report were broad-based: Construction firms added a solid 28,000 jobs last month, while manufacturing gained 15,000 positions. Professional and business services, which include mostly higher-paying positions such as accountants and engineers, gained 53,000.
Hiring has been strong this year, despite some hiccups in economic growth. Employers have added an average of 227,000 jobs a month in 2014, which puts this year on pace to be the strongest year for job creation since 1999.
Other recent reports suggest that Friday's government jobs report could be a healthy one. Manufacturers hired at a faster pace in October than in the previous month, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group.
And applications for unemployment benefits have fallen to 14-year lows, evidence that employers are cutting very few jobs.