Did ADP Just Create Lower Expectations for Payrolls by the Labor Department on Friday?

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Friday’s Employment Situation report from the U.S. Department of Labor is perhaps one of the most widely followed economic reports of them all. It is also one of the last formal reports that people will see before the presidential election. Also every month, two days prior to the Labor Department report, is the ADP National Employment Report that is used as a directional bias for the Labor Department release.

ADP released the National Employment Report for October on Wednesday, and it shows that the private sector payrolls rose by 147,000 from September.

Of the 147,000 private payrolls, there was a drop of 18,000 in goods-producing and 165,000 added in service providing. These were broken down as 34,000 from small businesses, 48,000 from medium businesses and 64,000 from large businesses.

The September total of jobs added was revised up from 154,000 to 202,000 due in part to adjustments made over the model.

What economists and investors need to know is that this ADP report for October was weak enough that it might directionally change the bias for Friday’s unemployment and payrolls data. Bloomberg was calling for 170,000, and the Econoday range of 150,000 to 175,000 means this was under every single economist expectation.

Bloomberg has a consensus estimate of 178,000 nonfarm payrolls from the Labor Department due this Friday. It also sees 170,000 private sector payrolls. One question to consider now is whether the unusually high revision for September was really due to model/sample changes or whether the numbers were really just that much better.

Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute, said in this report:

Job growth appears to be shifting from small to large companies due to the lessening impact the global economic environment had on large companies earlier in the year. This is also true because large companies often have the resources to attract workers with better pay and benefit packages.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said:

Job growth remains strong although the pace of growth appears to be slowing. Behind the slowdown is businesses’ difficulty filling open positions. However, there is some weakness in construction, education and mining.

This monthly report is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, and like the Labor Department it is a seasonally adjusted report. The matched sample used to develop this ADP report represents 411,000 U.S. clients employing nearly 24 million workers in the United States.