Private-sector job growth slowed in April, according to this month’s report from payroll processor ADP, which showed private payrolls adding 156,000 jobs last month. Prior to this morning’s report, economists polled by Reuters were predicting gains ranging from 116,000 to 225,000, with an average prediction of 196,000. The report shows the weakest job gains in three years.
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“The job market appears to have stumbled in April,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which produces the report with ADP. “Job growth noticeably slowed, with some weakness across most sectors. One month does not make a trend, but this bears close watching as the financial market turmoil earlier in the year may have done some damage to business hiring.”
Manufacturing shed 13,000 jobs last month, and was revised to -3,000 jobs for the previous month. Construction added 14,000 jobs, down from 18,000 in March. Goods-producing employment as a whole fell by 11,000 jobs in April.
Service-providing employment added 166,000 jobs last month. Professional and business services added 27,000 jobs, down from March’s tally of 31,000 jobs, while trade, transportation, and utilities added 25,000 jobs, down from 42,000 jobs in March. Financial activities added 4,000 jobs.
Small businesses led job gains last month. Companies with fewer than 50 employees added 93,000 jobs, while mid-sized businesses with 50 – 499 employees added 39,000 jobs. Large businesses with 500 or more employees added 24,000 jobs in April.
“Despite the softest overall monthly jobs added in three years, small businesses remained an engine for job growth in April,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, VP and head of the ADP Research Institute. “Smaller businesses are less susceptible to global conditions, such as low commodity prices and the strong dollar, that may have caused larger businesses to ease up on hiring.”
Economists predict that Friday’s report from the Labor Department will reflect 202,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in April. Unemployment is expected to hold steady at 5 percent.
The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, forecasts a 2 percent year-over-year growth for Q2 2016.
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