Soft ADP Payrolls May Dampen Labor Department Payroll Expectations

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Each and every month, economists and investors brace for the monthly Employment Situation report showing payrolls and unemployment in the United States. This is always perceived as one of the top market-moving numbers, and ADP comes out 48 hours ahead of the Department of Labor with its own reading on payrolls.

ADP has now said that its payroll measurement of the private sector was up by some 154,000 jobs in September versus August. September’s ADP National Employment Report was forecast to be 170,000 by Bloomberg, with an Econoday range of 155,000 to 190,000 in September. Dow Jones was calling for a gain of 173,000 in September.

The breakdown of the report showed that small businesses added 34,000 jobs of the 154,000 total. Medium-sized business, those with 50 to 499 employees, added 56,000 of the total. Large businesses, which have 500 employees or more, contributed 64,000 of the total figure in September.

Then there is a sector breakdown, showing that goods-producing jobs added a net 3,000, versus 151,000 for the services sector. An industry snapshot was seen as follows:

  • Construction, 11,000
  • Manufacturing, -6,000
  • Trade/transportation/utilities, 15,000
  • Financial activities, 11,000
  • Professional/business services, 45,000

Investors will be using this report perhaps as a tad softening in direction for Friday’s payrolls report from the Labor Department. Bloomberg is calling for 168,000 in nonfarm payrolls and 170,000 in total private sector payrolls for September. The reality is that this number feels soft but not so soft that everyone is going to panic.

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

Job gains in September eased a bit when compared to the past 12-month average. We also observed softening this month in trade/transportation/utilities, possibly due to a continued tightening U.S. labor market and lackluster consumer spending.

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

The current record of consecutive monthly job gains continued in September. With job openings at all-time highs and layoffs near all-time lows, the job market remains in full-swing. Job growth has moderated in recent months, but only because the economy is finally returning to full-employment.

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