Private payrolls are showing a big gain in April but are still falling short of high expectations, ADP says


Bartenders in protective masks assist customers who are sitting at the bar in Blooms Tavern in New York (USA) on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Nina Westervelt | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Private job growth accelerated in April, but lagged slightly behind Wall Street’s expectations. This comes from a report by the payroll firm ADP on Wednesday.

Companies added 742,000 workers in the month, a jump from the upwardly revised 565,000 in March but slightly below the 800,000 projections made by economists polled by Dow Jones.

Recreation and hospitality, the sector hardest hit by pandemic business closings, grew with 237,000 new jobs. The industry is still about 3 million years from pre-pandemic but has steadily created new jobs since governments eased restrictions.

Commerce, transportation, and utilities also made important contributions, adding 155,000 new jobs, while professional and business services added 104,000 and education and health services increased by 92,000 as students returned to school.

Services typically account for the bulk of employment growth, and this was again the case in April when the sector added 636,000 jobs.

However, the manufacturing industry also had a strong month: 106,000 new jobs were created as manufacturing hired 55,000 new employees, construction increased by 41,000, and natural resources and mining increased by 10,000.

From a company size perspective, profits were broad-based.

Companies with 500 or more employees led with 277,000, followed by small companies with fewer than 50 employees with 235,000 and medium-sized companies with 230,000.

The ADP report was generated using Moody’s Analytics and serves as a precursor to the more closely monitored non-farm payrolls published by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the two numbers can be very different.

In March, ADP reported private wage growth of 565,000 from an initial estimate of 517,000 compared to the BLS figure of 780,000.

The Dow Jones estimate for April’s Non-Farm Payroll report, out Friday, is 1 million compared to 916,000 in March. The unemployment rate is expected to decrease from 6% to 5.8%. Although the number of non-agricultural employees rose by 1.6 million in the first three months of 2021, the labor market is still well below the pre-pandemic level.

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Steven Gregory