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Economy in Brief

U.S. ADP Private Payrolls Crater
by Tom Moeller  May 6, 2020

• Monthly decline sets record.

• All sectors hit hard.

• Leisure & hospitality businesses pace the decline.

The ADP National Employment Report indicated that nonfarm private payrolls during April fell 20.236 million (-14.8% y/y) following a 149,000 drop in March, revised from -27,000. The latest figure compared to a 22.000 million decline expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The ADP report is based on data through April 12th.

Large payrolls were notably hard hit and declined 8.963 million (-12.0% y/y) after rising 21,000 in March. Small payrolls followed and declined 6.005 million (-18.4% y/y) after falling 146,000 in March. Medium-sized payrolls were off 5.269 million (-16.7% y/y) after falling 24,000.

Within industry sectors, employment amongst goods-producing firms weakened 4.229 million (-20.1% y/y) last month after a 38,000 fall. Construction sector payrolls were down 2.447 million last month and were off by roughly one-third y/y. Factory sector employment declined 1.674 million (-13.4% y/y). Employment in the natural resource & mining sector weakened 78,000 (-12.8% y/y), continuing its long pattern of decline.

Employment growth in the private service sector collapsed 16.007 million (-13.7% y/y) after declining 111,000 in March. An 8.607 million decline (-50.7% y/y) in the leisure & hospitality sector paced the weakness as it came after an 80,000 March drop. Trade, transportation & utilities payrolls, the largest sector, posted a 3.440 million decline (-11.9% y/y). Education & health services jobs fell 971,000 (-1.9% y/y) after a long period of monthly gains. Financial activities payrolls weakened 216,000 (-1.2% y/y). Employment in the professional & business services sector fell 1.167 million (-4.0% y/y). Information sector payrolls declined 309,000 (-11.3% y/y).

The Automatic Data Processing Research Institute survey covers 411,000 companies and includes about one-fifth of U.S. private payroll employment. 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.

The ADP National Employment Report data can be found in Haver's USECON database. Historical figures date back to 2001 for private employment and the industry breakdown, and 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 2019 2018 2017
Nonfarm Private Payroll Employment (m/m chg, 000s) -20,236 -149 147 -14.8% 1.5% 1.8% 1.7%
 Small Payroll (1-49) -6,005 -146 57 -18.4 0.2 0.6 1.1
 Medium Payroll (50-499) -5,269 -24 57 -16.7 2.0 2.0 1.9
 Large Payroll (>500) -8,963 21 33 -12.0 1.9 2.3 2.0
Goods-Producing -4,229 -38 5 -20.1 1.6 2.9 1.8
  Construction -2,477 -35 14 -32.4 2.7 4.1 3.7
  Manufacturing -1,674 0 -6 -13.4 1.0 1.9 0.8
Service-Producing -16,007 -111 142 -13.7 1.5 1.6 1.7
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