NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. companies picked up the pace of hiring in May, though job growth remained sluggish and fell short of economists' expectations as the goods-producing sector shed payrolls.
Private employers added 135,000 jobs in May, the ADP National Employment Report showed on Wednesday, missing forecasts for a gain of 165,000.
April's private payrolls were revised down to an increase of 113,000 from the previously reported 119,000.
In May, the goods-producing sector cut 3,000 jobs, compared to a gain of 138,000 in the service sector.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
U.S. stock index futures held on to their declines shortly after the report was released, while the dollar extended losses against the yen and U.S. Treasury debt prices added to gains.
"We continue to see expansion of the workforce ... but growth has slowed since the beginning of the year," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
The ADP figures come two days ahead of the government's more comprehensive Labour market report, which includes both public and private sector employment.
That report is expected to show job growth increased only slightly, with nonfarm payrolls seen rising by 170,000 compared to the 165,000 seen in April.
Private payrolls are expected to gain by 180,000 and the unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at 7.5 percent.