Few economists are expecting Friday’s official government report on jobs and unemployment to be anything but weak. That less-than-optimistic view was bolstered today by ADP’s National Employment Report, which said the U.S. economy added 118,000 private sector jobs last month.
The report, derived from the hundreds of thousands of payrolls ADP processes and compiled by Moody’s Analytics, blamed Hurricane Sandy for the weak job growth.
“Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls,” said Mark Zandi, Moody’s chief economist.
The report was just slightly less than the average 125,000 forecast by economists surveyed by both Reuters and Bloomberg. ADP also also adjusted down the October job growth from 158,000 to 157,000.
Unlike previous months, where small and mid-sized business (with under 500 employees) accounted for the bulk of new jobs, in November employers with 500 and more workers added 66,000 positions, the report said. The largest employers, those with 1,000 or more employee, added 62,000 new jobs.
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Construction, a weak spot in the economy, added 23,000 jobs. Most of the gain though was offset by manufacturing’s loss of 16,000 positions. The service sector added 114,000 jobs.
The ADP numbers rarely track with the report from the U.S. Department of Labor due to differences in methodology. The Labor Department report includes both the public and the private sector. The ADP report is limited to private sector positions. However, investors and economists look to it as an indicator of what the official report may show.