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Economy in Brief

U.S. ADP Reports Slower Payroll Growth
by Tom Moeller  May 4, 2016

The ADP/Moody's National Employment Report indicated that nonfarm private sector payrolls rose 156,000 during April (2.0% y/y) following a 194,000 increase in March, revised from 200,000. The rise compared to an average monthly increase of 198,000 in Q1 and 219,000 in Q4'15. It fell short of expectations for a 200,000 rise in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 96% correlation between the change in the ADP figure and the change in nonfarm private sector payrolls as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The ADP Research Institute survey is based on ADP's business payroll transaction system covering 411,000 companies and nearly 24 million employees. The data are processed by Moody's Analytics Inc., then calibrated and aligned with the BLS establishment survey data. The ADP data cover private sector employment only.

Medium-sized businesses led last month's hiring slowdown with a 39,000 rise (1.8% y/y) after a 66,000 increase. That was down from a 136,000 high back in December 2013. Large business payrolls increased 24,000 (2.3% y/y), down from a 99,000 increase in September. Small business hiring held steady at 93,000 m/m (2.1% y/y). The three-month pace of 86,000 was improved from 62,000 in November.

Service-industry hiring increased 166,000 (2.3% y/y), but the three-month average of 188,000 was below the 212,000 average ending February. Payrolls in trade, transportation & utilities industries rose a diminished 25,000 (1.6% y/y) after a 41,000 rise. The number of professional & business services increased a weakened 26,000 (2.6% y/y), after an 82,000 December gain. The number of financial activities jobs rose 4,000 (1.8% y/y), compared to a monthly high of 20,000 in February of last year.

Hiring in the goods-producing sector of the economy slackened last month by 11,000 (+0.5% y/y). As recently as December, payrolls in the goods-producing sector posted a 38,000 increase. Factory sector jobs declined 13,000 (-0.0% y/y), the largest of the declines in the last three months. To the upside, construction sector employment increased 14,000 (3.7% y/y), but that also was easier than the 32,000 gain in December.

The ADP National Employment Report data are maintained in Haver's USECON database; historical figures date back to April 2001 for the total and industry breakdown, and back to January 2005 for the business size breakout. The expectation figure is available in Haver's AS1REPNA database.

ADP/Moody's National Employment Report Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Nonfarm Private Payroll Employment (m/m chg, 000s) 156 194 207 2.0% 2.3% 2.2% 1.9%
 Small Payroll (1-049) 93 93 71 2.1 2.6 2.1 1.9
 Medium Payroll (50-499) 39 66 58 1.8 2.3 2.8 2.2
 Large Payroll (>500) 24 35 78 2.3 1.7 1.6 1.5
Goods-Producing -11 5 -1 0.5 1.8 2.4 1.8
  Construction 14 18 26 3.7 4.5 4.7 3.7
  Manufacturing -13 -3 -11 -0.0 1.1 1.3 0.8
Service-Producing 166 189 208 2.3 2.4 2.2 1.9
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