U.S. private sector job losses slowed in April, according to a report by ADP Employer Services on Wednesday, hitting their lowest since November last year and surprising economists who had expected a much worse result.
ADP said private employers cut 491,000 jobs in April versus a revised 708,000 lost in March that was originally reported as a loss of 742,000 jobs.
Economists had expected 650,000 private-sector job cuts in April, according to a Reuters poll.
The report is the latest in a series of data suggesting the severe U.S. recession may be bottoming out, though it is too early to say recovery is under way.
This is one of many indicators that has suggested improvement, but it is volatile and is only one month. Too early to read anything further into it, said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.
U.S. stock index futures turned positive after the report. U.S. government bonds extended their losses.
(Reporting by Burton Frierson, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)