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US companies added 204,000 jobs in August, latest sign of healthy hiring

WASHINGTON - U.S. businesses added jobs at a healthy pace in August, according to a private survey, the fifth straight month of solid gains.

Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 204,000 jobs last month, down from 212,000 in July, which was revised slightly lower. Job gains above 200,000 are usually enough to lower the unemployment rate.

The figures suggest that the government's jobs report, to be released Friday, will also show a solid increase. But the ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.

Economists surveyed by FactSet forecast that the government's report will show that 220,000 jobs were added in August, while the unemployment rate slipped to 6.1 per cent.

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