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ADP: 129K Private-Sector Jobs in March, Below Estimates

Mark Vickery

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The monthly private-sector payroll report from Automatic Data Processing ADP was released ahead of today’s opening bell, and the headline figure came in under expectations: 129K was well beneath the roughly 170K expected by analysts, and the lowest private-sector payroll results in about a year and a half.

That said, February’s headline result went up noticeably on this morning’s revision: 197K from the previously reported 183K. Even with this gain of 14,000 jobs, the two-month average is still below where most thought we would be. Construction dropped 6000 jobs in the month, the worst figure since 2012. Services gained 135K, led as usual by Education/Healthcare.

This ADP report comes, as always, ahead of the non-farm payroll numbers to be released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), whereby expectations are for 180K new jobs to have been created last month. The Unemployment Rate, last registered at an historically low 3.8%, is not expected to change. But we do look for revisions in analysts projections after today’s slight disappointment in ADP data.

In our prolonged growing (and tightening) labor market, analysts had been expecting employers to pull back on hiring, at least from the rates of heavy growth we’ve seen over the past several years. Last month’s February jobs read from the BLS came in at a disappointing 20K, more than 100K jobs fewer than expected.

Based on the upward revision in today’s ADP numbers for February, perhaps we’ll see a higher tally for the month on Friday. The ADP and BLS numbers are rarely in lock-step on the initial release, but tend to move toward each other upon revisions.

U.S.-China Trade Deal Almost Done?

After many weeks of positive sentiment but no secured trade deal between the top two economies in the world, reports this morning indicate that “90% of the deal is done.” The remaining 10% is considered “trickiest,” however, and no date has been set for a finished agreement to be presented. Reportedly, the 10% that remains to be worked out include the removal of tariffs on Chinese goods being imported to the U.S.

Last week’s trade talks in Beijing have resumed this week in Washington, DC. If no trade deal is imminent from these current talks, many are looking toward the G-20 summit in Japan this summer for the next opportunity for the trade war to come to an end.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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