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A report by a payrolls processor released on Wednesday showed U.S. companies hired 218,000 workers in July, below what analysts projected and the level set the previous month. Private job gains in June were 281,000, which was the strongest reading since November 2012. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast that the ADPNational Employment Report would show a gain of 230,000 jobs. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics said, “The July employment gain was softer than June, but remains consistent with a steadily improving job market. If current trends continue, the economy will return to full employment by late 2016.”

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