The US private sector shed 532,000 jobs in May in an indication that layoffs may not be as rapid as in the last six months on signs of easing recession, a survey by payrolls firm ADP showed Wednesday.
The decline in the May non-farm private employment figure was less steep than the revised 545,000 in April, ADP said.
The earlier ADP estimate for April was 491,000 and most analysts had expected 525,000 job losses in May.
ADP said that monthly employment losses in April and May averaged 539,000.
"This is a notable improvement over the first three months of the year, when monthly losses averaged 691,000," it said in a statement.
"Nevertheless, despite some recent indications that economic activity is stabilizing, employment, which usually trails overall economic activity, is likely to decline for at least several more months, although perhaps not as rapidly as during the last six months," ADP said.
The weekly government labor report has shown new jobless claims above 600,000 for several months after hitting a peak of 674,000 in late March.
The latest monthly snapshot showed the US unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in April with 539,000 jobs lost.
May's ADP report estimated employment in the service sector fell by 265,000, that in the goods-producing sector by 267,000 and in the manufacturing sector by 149,000, its 39th consecutive monthly decline.
Large businesses, defined as those with 500 or more workers, saw employment decline by 100,000, while medium-size businesses with between 50 and 499 workers declined 223,000.
Employment among small-size businesses, defined as those with fewer than 50 workers, declined 209,000.
Since reaching peak employment in January 2008, small-size businesses have shed 2.125 million jobs.
In May, construction employment dropped 108,000, its 28th consecutive monthly decline, and brings the total decline in construction jobs since the peak in January 2007 to 1.345 million.
Employment in the financial services sector dropped 32,000, the 18th consecutive monthly decline.
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