The numbers: Private-sector employment surged by 978,000 in May, according to the ADP National Economic Report released Thursday. The gain was well above forecasts from economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal who expected a gain of 680,000 jobs.

Big picture: Economists expect a rebound in May nonfarm payrolls after a surprisingly subdued 266,000 gain in April.

The Fed’s Beige Book reported Thursday that businesses are adding to their payrolls at a steady pace in May.

The ADP survey is a poor bellwether historically for the government’s official employment report, but they are both moving in the same direction this year.

Economists forecast an overall increase of 671,000 new jobs in May. The Labor Department’s tally, to be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, also includes government workers.

Market reaction: Stocks


were set to open lower Thursday after eking out small gains in the prior day’s trading.

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