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Economy in Brief

U.S. ADP Private-Sector Payroll Hiring Slows
by Tom Moeller  March 6, 2019

ADP indicated in its National Employment Report that private nonfarm payrolls increased 183,000 during February following a 300,000 January gain, revised from 213,000. It was the weakest increase in three months. A 190,000 gain had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The three-month average gain in payrolls strengthened to 244,000, the strongest rise since last July. During the last ten years, there has been an 86% 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 complete history of the ADP figures underwent revision.

The ADP National Employment Report is calculated from ADP's business payroll transaction system covering 411,000 companies and nearly 24 million employees. The data is calibrated and aligned with the Bureau of Labor Statistics establishment survey data and is produced by the Automatic Data Processing Research Institute in collaboration Moody's Analytics Inc. The ADP data only cover private sector employment.

Small business payrolls improved 12,000 (1.4% y/y) following a 107,000 rise. The three-month average gain of 87,000 was strengthened by outsized growth in both January and December. Medium-sized payrolls rose a lessened 95,000 (2.8% y/y) and a strengthened 114,000 on a three-month basis. Large payrolls rose an improved 77,000 m/m (2.3% y/y) and by an improved 62,000, on average, during the last three months.

Goods-producing payrolls increased 44,000 (2.9% y/y) in February after a 93,000 jump. The three-month average gain picked up to 58,000, its quickest pace since July of last year. Construction sector payrolls rose a lessened 25,000 m/m but surged 4.8% y/y. That strengthened the three-month average to 41,000, up from 15,000 as of December. Manufacturing sector employment gained a lessened 17,000 (1.7% y/y). The three-month average rise was stable at 16,000. Natural resource and mining sector payrolls rose 3,000 (6.5% y/y), compared to an 8,000 average last spring.

Private-service sector payrolls rose a lessened 139,000 (1.9% y/y), but they were the source of most of the upward revision to January's total employment gain. Three-month average growth was fairly steady at 186,000. Professional and business services payrolls improved a steady 49,000 (2.7% y/y). Jobs in education & health services increased a weakened 37,000 (2.1% y/y), while trade transportation & utilities employment rose a greatly lessened 14,000 (1.3% y/y). Employment in the financial services sector strengthened 21,000 (1.5% y/y), and information sector employment grew an improved 7,000 (0.3% y/y). Leisure & hospitality employment rose a negligible 4,000 (2.4% y/y).

The ADP National Employment Report data can be found 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.

Corporate Debt as a Potential Amplifier in a Slowdown from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

ADP/Moody's National Employment Report Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Nonfarm Private Payroll Employment (m/m chg, 000s) 183 300 249 2.1% 2.0% 1.7% 2.0%
 Small Payroll (1-49) 12 107 84 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.9
 Medium Payroll (50-499) 95 134 114 2.8 2.3 1.8 1.5
 Large Payroll (>500) 77 60 51 2.3 2.3 2.1 2.7
Goods-Producing 44 93 38 2.9 3.1 1.7 0.8
  Construction 25 67 31 4.8 5.0 3.3 4.3
  Manufacturing 17 23 8 1.7 1.8 0.8 0.1
Service-Producing 139 207 211 1.9 1.7 1.8 2.2
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