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

Companies added 147,000 workers in October, the fewest in five months and marking a more limited pace of job creation, data from the ADP Research Institute showed Wednesday.

Key Points

  • Private payrolls increased by 147,000 (forecast was 165,000) after a 202,000 gain in September that was previously reported as 154,000
  • Goods-producing industries, which include manufacturers and builders, lost 18,000 workers after an increase of 28,000
  • Service providers boosted payrolls by 165,000, also the fewest since May

Big Picture

Firms have remained vocal about the difficulty in finding skilled workers in the pool of available labor, which has contributed to a slower hiring pace. Federal Reserve policy makers, who conclude a two-day meeting later on Wednesday, have been upbeat about progress in the labor market while citing lingering slack that still might be absorbed more than seven years after the end of the last recession. 

Economist Takeaways

“Job growth remains strong although the pace of growth appears to be slowing,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “Behind the slowdown is businesses’ difficulty filling open positions. However, there is some weakness in construction, education and mining.”

The Details

  • Construction payrolls dropped by 15,000 last month, the biggest decline since May
  • Factories shed 1,000 workers
  • Employment at business services firms rose by 69,000 and payrolls increased by 38,000 in leisure and hospitality
  • Companies employing 500 or more workers added 64,000 jobs; payrolls climbed by 48,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees; small companies’ staffs grew by 34,000
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