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Washington – U.S. companies added just 67,000 jobs in November, a private survey found, barely half the gain of the previous month.

Payroll processor ADP said that manufacturers, construction firms and mining companies cut 18,000 jobs combined. Companies with fewer than 20 employees also slashed their payrolls.

It typically takes roughly 100,000 or so new jobs a month to absorb population growth and keep the unemployment rate from rising. Still, job gains frequently fluctuate and November’s meager increase could be a one-time blip.

The ADP data aren’t affected by the GM workers’ strike, which ended in late October and lowered hiring in the government’s jobs report for October. The return of striking workers is expected to increase job gains in the official report to be released Friday.

“The weakness in the ADP report does not guarantee a disappointment in the upcoming (government) data,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan.

But Silver said that the disappointing ADP report “is supportive of our view that the trend in job growth has downshifted lately.”

Last month’s job gains are the fewest in six months and are far below what economists are expecting in Friday’s government employment report, which is expected to show an increase of 190,000 jobs. ADP’s figures don’t include government hiring and frequently diverge from the government’s official report.

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