Employers probably hired fewer workers in May, a sign U.S.businesses are losing confidence as the world's largest economycools, economists said before a report today.

Payrolls rose by 165,000, the smallest gain in four months,after increasing 244,000 in April, according to the median of 89estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The jobless rate may havepartially reversed April's advance, falling to 8.9 percent from 9percent.

Companies may try to restrain labor costs amid concern consumerspending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, willkeep slowing as households grapple with rising food and fuelexpenses. The recovery's failure to create more jobs raises theodds Federal Reserve policy makers will hold interest rates closeto zero into next year.

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