NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private-sector hiring slowed again in April as companies added the fewest employees in seven months, the latest sign the economy is encountering a soft patch, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
Businesses added 119,000 employees to their payrolls last month, according to the ADP National Employment Report, falling short of economists' expectations for a gain of 150,000 jobs. It was the smallest gain since last September.
March's private payrolls were revised down to an increase of 131,000 from the previously reported 158,000.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
Stock futures were little changed immediately following the data, while the euro extended gains against the dollar and Treasury securities firmed.
The ADP figures come ahead of the government's much more comprehensive labor market report on Friday, which includes both public and private sector employment.
"This put a downward bias on expectations on Friday's payroll number," said Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Friday's report is expected to show overall nonfarm payrolls increased by 145,000, an improvement over the paltry 88,000 seen in March.
Economists sometimes tweak their payrolls forecasts following the ADP report, though the private sector report does not always accurately predict the government figures.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)