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Gold prices holding firm within striking distance of $2,000 as U.S. ADP says 113K jobs jobs created in Sept.; disappointing for third straight month

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(Kitco News) - The U.S. labor market continues to cool as the private sector created fewer jobs than expected in September, missing expectations for the third consecutive month, according to private payrolls processor ADP.

Wednesday, ADP said that 113,000 jobs were created last month. The data missed expectations as economists were looking for job gains of around 149,000.

"We are seeing a steepening decline in jobs this month," said Nela Richardson, chief economist of ADP. "Additionally, we are seeing a steady decline in wages in the past 12 months."

The gold market is not seeing much reaction to the disappointing employment numbers; however, it is holding within striking distance of $2,000 an ounce. December gold futures last traded at $1,994.20 an ounce, roughly unchanged on the day.

Along with weak job growth, wages are also declining sharply. The report said that for workers who stayed in their jobs last month, their wages saw an annual increase of 5.7%, "marking the 12th straight month of slowing growth."

At the same time, workers who changed jobs also saw their wages shrink, increasing 9%, down from September's increase of 9.7%.

According to analysts, the growing slack in the labor market makes it easier for the Federal Reserve to leave interest rates unchanged when it announces its monetary policy decision later in the day. Although markets do not expect the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates, it is expected to maintain its restrictive monetary policy for the foreseeable future.

In an industry-by-industry breakdown of the employment outlook, the goods-producing sector created 6,000 jobs last month. The natural resources and mining sector lost 1,000 jobs; the construction sector created 4,000 jobs in September, and the manufacturing sector created 3,000 jobs last month.

Meanwhile, the service sector saw total job gains of 107,000. Trade/transportation and the utilities sector saw growth of 35,000 jobs last month; the information sector hired nobody in September; financial services created 21,000 new positions; professional business services saw a decline of 10,000 jobs; 45,000 jobs were created within the educational, health services sector; the leisure and hospitality sector created 17,000 jobs in September and other services saw a loss of 1,000 jobs.

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