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Survey: US companies add 218,000 jobs in July, fourth straight month of solid gains

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In this photo taken Wednesday, July 16, 2014, job seeker Staci Sudduth, left, talks to job recruiters Cameron Quin, center, and Jay Kington, right, at a Hiring Fair For Veterans in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in July on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) (The Associated Press)

A private survey shows that businesses hired at a healthy pace in July, though the job gains slowed from the previous month.

Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 218,000 jobs last month, down from 281,000 in June. It was the fourth straight month of job gains above 200,000, a healthy pace that usually is 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 often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.

Economists forecast that the government's report will show that 235,000 jobs were added in July, while the unemployment rate stayed at 6.1 percent, according to a survey by FactSet.

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