More mixed signals for jobs

By Ben Rooney and Annalyn Censky, staff reporters


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The job market continues to show mixed signals, as two separate reports released Wednesday showed that companies added more jobs in October, but announced more staff cuts to come.

Private-sector employers added 43,000 jobs in October, according to a report by payroll processing firm Automatic Data Processing -- much better than 23,000 additional jobs expected by economists polled by Briefing.com.

The increase follows a revised one-month decline in September of 2,000 private sector jobs, and seven previous months of increases.

But overall, employers announced a total of 37,986 planned job cuts last month, up 2.2% from September, according to a separate report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Despite the month-over-month increase, cuts dropped nearly 32% versus October 2009, when employers announced 55,679. So far this year, job cuts have been below year-ago levels in every month.

The separate jobs reports use different metrics, with ADP measuring only private-sector job growth from actual payrolls. The Challenger report is more forward-looking, compiling planned job cuts in both the public and private sectors.

While the economy has been growing at a sluggish pace for most of the year, the job market remains stymied as employers postpone hiring amid anemic consumer spending.

"The problem is that consumer spending will not increase until more people have jobs," said John Challenger, the outplacement firm's chief executive. "But businesses won't begin expanding production or hiring until there is more demand for their products and services."

Both reports are seen as a preview of the Labor Department's key monthly jobs report, which comes out Friday.

Economists expect that employers added a total of 60,000 jobs in October, up from a loss of 95,000 jobs the month before. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain unchanged at 9.6% To top of page

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