U.S. private employers chopped more than half a million jobs in May, signaling job conditions remain tough and dashing some hopes the economy was not deteriorating as rapidly as thought, a report on Wednesday showed.


U.S. companies axed 532,000 jobs last month, though this was fewer than the revised 545,000 jobs lost in April, according to the ADP National Employment Report.


The April figure was originally a decline of 491,000.


The median forecast of economists surveyed by Reuters for the ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, was for a loss of 520,000 private-sector jobs in May.


The ADP job reading is seen as a predictor of the government's monthly payroll figure. The Labor Department will release its May employment report at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.


The median forecast for the government payroll figure was a decline of 520,000 in May, compared with a 539,000 drop in April.