ADP Reports Disappointing Employment Numbers

Stocks dropped today following reports suggesting the U.S. economy is still wobbly. The market was off more than 100 points at noon in New York.

Payroll-processor ADP’s monthly employment report came in with a lower-than-expected 179,000 new private sector jobs created in April. It was the lowest increase reported by the company since November, when it said 122,000 jobs were added.

Economists were expecting ADP to report 198,000 new private sector jobs, while estimates of the official count, to be released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning, are for 183,000 total new jobs in April. (ADP, which processes payrolls for about a quarter of all U.S. businesses, counts only jobs in the private sector. The BLS includes government employment, which has been falling for months.)

Investor disappointment was further fueled by a drop in the services index reported today by the Institute for Supply Management. The index dropped to 52.8 percent in April, down from 57.3 percent in March. It’s the lowest level since last August. In one survey, the index was expected to rise to 57.8 percent. Bloomberg News predicted 57.5.

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There were some bright spots in the ADP report. The company revised its March number upward from an initial 201,000 to 207,000. It also said that construction jobs grew in April for only the second time since June 2007. Manufacturing, another weak sector, also increased, adding 25,000 jobs.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas released an encouraging report on layoffs, saying employers announced 12 percent fewer layoffs in April than in March, a trend that began more than a year ago. The outplacement firm also said employers last month announced plans to add 173,000 workers, including the McDonald’s one-day hiring blitz of 50,000. The announced additions was an increase of 149 percent over the 69,329 hires announced in April 2010.

“The slow pace of downsizing suggests employers remain optimistic about business conditions going forward, despite higher energy costs, government deficits, and slipping confidence among consumers. The optimism is evident not only in the lower job-cut figures, but also in announced hiring plans, which have outpaced layoffs through April,” said CEO John A. Challenger.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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