Private-sector payrolls in America rose by 135K last month, according to new ADP data. That was a smaller increase than expected and the August print was revised sharply lower. The smoother 3-month average payrolls gain, though, climbed to 145K in September, the best reading since May and comfortably above what is needed to keep pace with population growth. As we have explained before, this particular ADP data series does a better job of confirming recent trends in the labor force than predicting what will be seen in the monthly nonfarm payrolls report from the government (due out this Friday).
To this end, today’s data showed that the pace of hiring has indeed cooled but only in line with what we would expect in a tight labor market rather than an economy teetering on recession. Moreover, small business hiring rose for the third month in a row, even in the manufacturing sector which was responsible for the more abrupt slowdown in hiring seen earlier this summer. In fact, companies of all sizes in September reported manufacturing gains, disagreeing with yesterday’s noisy ISM survey data (more on this tomorrow). Job creation at service-providing firms also continued to hold up very well, further confirming that any weakness in overall hiring, for now, has more to do with the uncertainty foisted onto businesses by the trade war than a broader slowdown in economic activity.
Sources: Econoday, ADP