By Austen Hufford

Private U.S. employers continued to hire at a solid clip in October, another sign the nation's labor market remains strong even as the increase was the lowest since May and below average for the year.

Firms across the country added 147,000 workers to their ranks last month, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. and forecasting firm Moody's Analytics. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected an increase of 170,000.

The September total was revised to 202,000 from 154,000. The ADP report is based on private payroll data in addition to lagged government data.

So far this year, private employers have added 175,000 jobs on average.

"Job growth remains strong although the pace of growth appears to be slowing," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "Behind the slowdown is businesses' difficulty filling open positions."

ADP's report comes ahead of Friday's employment situation report. Economists expect the Bureau of Labor Statistics to report an increase of 173,000 in October payrolls, up from a 156,000 September gain. Unemployment is expected to fall to 4.8% from 5%.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 02, 2016 09:00 ET (13:00 GMT)

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