The labor market is showing signs of improvement.

The labor market is showing signs of improvement.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Don’t look to August for a robust jobs recovery. According to a report out Wednesday, the U.S. economy added jobs during the month, but not nearly at the momentum seen earlier this year.

Private sector employers added 91,000 workers in August, down from the 109,000 jobs added in July, payroll processing firm ADP reported.

That number was slightly less than economists’ forecasts for 100,000 new jobs, and pales in comparison to job gains seen in the first four months of the year. In each of those months, the ADP report showed private sector employers added at least 175,000 jobs.

Small businesses continue to be the engine of job growth. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees added 58,000 jobs in August, while mid-sized firms added 30,000 jobs.

Larger corporations with 500 or more employees, created only 3,000 jobs during the month.

No jobs in the U.S.? I’m moving!

A separate report showed the number of planned job cuts declined from a month ago, although they still remain at a high level.

The number of planned cuts fell in August to 51,114 from July’s 16-month high of 66,414, according to outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray Christmas. But year-over-year, job cuts are still 47% above last August’s level.

Government workers will take the biggest hit, the report said, accounting for 18,426 of the announced reductions. The retail sector will also feel the pain, accounting for 5,901 layoffs in August.

Employers have now announced a total of 363,334 planned job cuts so far this year — down only 2.9% from 374,121 cuts announced in the first eight months of 2010.

“July job cuts spiked as a result of a handful of surprisingly large job cut announcements in the private sector. It is too soon to tell whether those cuts were an anomaly, but they appeared to be driven by industry- and company-specific trends, as opposed to larger economic ones,” John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray Christmas said in a statement.

The Challenger report and the ADP private sector jobs report typically set the tone for the government’s highly anticipated monthly jobs report, due Friday for August.

These reports do not however include the effect of 45,000 Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) workers going on strike mid-month, which some economists think will distort the government’s official tally.

A CNNMoney survey of 19 economists forecasts the U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1% in August.  To top of page

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