We already warned ahead of the number that the first-quarter gross domestic product would come in well under estimates. Now we have a setup for a weaker-than-expected April payrolls and unemployment report from the Labor Department this Friday. While regional reports have been weak in general, the employment subsectors generally have been close to positive. At least that is the case before Wednesday’s projections from ADP and TrimTabs.
TrimTabs Investment Research estimates that the U.S. economy added 67,000 jobs in April, less than half of the 156,000 jobs in March. These employment estimates were based on an analysis of daily income tax deposits to the U.S. Treasury from all salaried U.S. employees. TrimTabs represents that this is a historically more accurate reading than the initial estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. TrimTabs also reported that wage and salary growth was 2.8% year-over-year in April, versus 3.9% in March, but adjusting for inflation the gains were put at only 1.3% in April, versus 2.4% in March. Economists do not predict estimates for the TrimTabs report.
ADP payrolls came in at a disappointing rate, although somewhat better than the TrimTabs report. ADP said that April saw only 119,000 private sector payroll gains, much lower than the 155,000 expected from Bloomberg’s pool of economists. The report is derived from ADP’s own base of payrolls it processes for corporations, enterprises and small businesses. To make matters worse, the gain of 158,000 originally seen in March was revised substantially lower to 131,000.
This puts the Employment Situation Report under a microscope. Bloomberg is calling for 153,000 in nonfarm payrolls but is looking for a net gain of 175,000 payrolls in total from the private sector. Friday’s unemployment report and the reading on nonfarm payrolls likely will ratchet down, based on these numbers. The unemployment rate is expected to remain flat at 7.6% due to a lower workforce participation rate.
As a reminder, the Labor Department’s payrolls originally were put at 95,000 for March. Things have weakened further since then in the economic reports.