Companies in U.S. Add Fewest Workers in Five Months, ADP Says

Companies in September added the fewest number of workers in five months, showing the labor market is cooling after strong gains for much of this year, data from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey, showed Wednesday.

Key Points

  • Private payrolls increased by 154,000 (forecast was 165,000) after a revised 175,000 gain in August
  • Goods-producing industries, which include manufacturers and builders, boosted headcounts by 3,000
  • Service providers’ payrolls climbed by 151,000

Big Picture

The figures suggest a more modest increase in the government’s official tally of September total employment when the Labor Department issues its count on Friday. Hiring managers might be having some trouble finding skilled workers to fill vacancies, helping explain the cooling in payroll gains even as the labor market remains healthy. Unless job figures are a major disappointment, a measured slowdown would probably affirm Federal Reserve officials’ projections and keep them on pace to raise the benchmark interest rate before year’s end.

Economist Takeaways

“Job growth has moderated in recent months, but only because the economy is finally returning to full employment,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “With job openings at all-time highs and layoffs near all-time lows, the job market remains in full swing.”

The Details

  • Construction payrolls rose by 11,000 last month, the most since March
  • Factories shed 6,000 workers, the most in three months
  • Employment in business services rose by 45,000 and payrolls rose by 15,000 in trade services such as retailers
  • Companies employing 500 or more workers boosted staffing by 64,000 jobs; payrolls climbed by 56,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees; small companies’ staffs grew by 34,000
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