The US private sector served up a burst of hiring in June but new claims for unemployment insurance remained high at the end of the month, according to new data released Thursday.
Private businesses, excluding the farm sector, added 157,000 jobs in June from May, a solid jump after the tepid 36,000 increase in May over April, according to the ADP National Employment Report.
Meanwhile the Labor Department said unemployment claims fell slightly to 418,00 in the week to July 2 from 432,000 a week earlier.
Both figures were better than economists had expected, but neither was stellar: the figures from ADP, a payrolls firm, were still off the 200,000 monthly job creation pace of the first quarter.
And the jobless claims were still well above the 400,000 mark, after several weeks in February and March when the weekly figures held below that threshold, giving hopes at the time of a strong recovery.
The figures gave a mixed picture ahead of the release of the government's official job creation and unemployment figures for June to be released on Friday.
"We need to see claims drop below the 400,000 mark on a sustained basis to signal the re-emergence of stronger job creation, and at the moment claims seem to have leveled off somewhat above that level," said analysts at RDQ Economics.