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Companies hired far fewer workers than anticipated in April, suggesting the labor market weakened for a second straight month.

Employment increased by 119,000 after a downwardly revised 201,000 gain a month later, according to the monthly report from payroll giant Automatic Data Processing. Economists had expected companies to add considerably more workers to payrolls in April, closer to 183,000.

Two consecutive months of lackluster job growth will spark fresh fears on the durability of the recovery. It will also prompt worries—and memories— of 2010 and 2011, when economic growth early in the year gave way to a spring swoon.