US private sector employers ramped up hiring in October, according to a closely watched report that suggests the job market is still tightening even as the unemployment rate has hit its lowest level since 1969.

Private payrolls increased by 227,000 jobs in October from 218,000 in the previous month, according to ADP. The figure beat expectations of 189,000 from a group of economists polled by Reuters, and was the highest since February.

Large-sized businesses led the way, hiring 102,000 workers, with mid-size companies adding 96,000 and small businesses adding 29,000. The robust job growth comes even as the unemployment rate sits near or below levels that many economists see as the ‘natural’ level in a properly functioning economy.

The figures come ahead of the crucial monthly jobs report, which is issued by the labour department on Friday morning in Washington.

Economists have said that the tigher labour market has pushed up pressure on wage growth, which has been accelerating after a long period of weakness following the 2008-09 recession. This has fed-into expectations for higher levels of inflation, which have in turn have placed significant pressure on America’s bond market.

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