Private sector job losses in US at two-year low

THE pace of US job losses in the private sector slowed in January as employers reported the smallest payroll decline in nearly two years, while the dominant services sector grew slightly, data showed yesterday.

A report by ADP Employer Services showed the United States lost 22,000 private sector jobs last month, smaller than the 61,000 jobs lost in December and below economists’ forecasts of a 30,000 loss in January. December’s decline was first reported at 84,000.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management said its index of the vast US services sector rose to 50.5 last month from 49.8 in December, below economists’ 51 expectation but above the 50 level indicating expansion. Still, job growth in the sector, which accounts for the majority of US employment, remained negative, suggesting a protracted recovery.