Employers probably hired fewer workers in May, a sign U.S. businesses are losing confidence as the world’s largest economy cools, 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 89 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The jobless rate may have partially reversed April’s advance, falling to 8.9 percent from 9 percent.

Companies may try to restrain labor costs amid concern consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, will keep slowing as households contend with rising food and fuel expenses. The recovery’s failure to create more jobs raises the odds Federal Reserve policy makers will hold interest rates close to zero into next year.

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