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An ominous sign for the jobs report, or not?

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Everyone who cares about the job market and the economy in this country has been eagerly awaiting the latest reports on jobs, especially after December’s disappointing report on the labor market. There’s just one problem: the ADP report for December was way off the mark of the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report for December. So should anyone be concerned that this morning’s disappointing results from ADP are an indicator of what’s to come when the government delivers the employment report for January? You decide.

This morning, Automatic Data Processing reported the economy added 175,000 private-sector jobs in the month of January. That is below the 193,000 that economists were expecting. ADP also revised the December number down by 11,000 to 227,000 from the 238,000 jobs reported for December. That initial December report raised hopes about the job market, only to have those hopes dashed when the Labor Department reported just 74,000 jobs for the month of December just days after the ADP report.

So, if the ADP report was a converse indicator of the government employment report in December, maybe that will hold true again this time and the slightly disappointing private-sector results for January will mean a happy upside surprise when the Labor Department reveals the jobs and unemployment rate for January on Friday.

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