ADP Sets Up Low Expectations for July Payrolls and Unemployment

The volatility in the jobs market has created a bit of a stir around each monthly unemployment and payrolls report. Now the expectations for the U.S. Department of Labor’s nonfarm and private sector payrolls may start to be muted for the month of July. ADP releases its private sector payrolls report each month, just 48 hours ahead of the Labor Department’s report.

ADP reported that private sector payrolls rose by 179,000 in July. The report is derived from ADP’s actual client payroll data and measures the changes in nonfarm private employment. Similar to the Labor Department, this report is on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Dow Jones was calling for 178,000, but Bloomberg was calling for just 165,000 from an Econoday range of 160,000 to 185,000.

What matters here is not really the exact number. ADP has had a history of being close and far, but it seems to have been closer of late. What really matters is the overall direction. That direction has generally held true in 2016, and that would mean that the 287,000 nonfarm payrolls gains and the 265,000 private sector payrolls gains from July will not be repeated by the Labor Department this Friday.

Expectations are already looking more tame, with each major news source looking for fewer than 200,000 payroll gains, generally 170,000 to 180,000 seen so far this week from source to source.

Each month’s official payrolls report has been closely watched. The reason is that the Federal Reserve has more than just hinted that it would like to be able to raise interest rates. Stable or strong labor data will help justify that, even if the inflation data remain well under the Fed’s 2.0% to 2.5% target range.

Stay tuned.