U.S. Private Sector Employment Rises Much Less Than Expected In March

Payroll processor ADP released a report on Wednesday showing much weaker than expected private sector job growth in the month of March.

ADP said private sector employment rose by 129,000 jobs in March after jumping by an upwardly revised 197,000 jobs in February.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 170,000 jobs compared to the addition of 183,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

“March posted the slowest employment increase in 18 months,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Although some service sectors showed continued strength, we saw weakness in the goods producing sector.”

The report said employment in the service-providing sector increased by 135,000 jobs, while employment in the goods-producing sector fell by 6,000 jobs.

While employment at mid-sized and large businesses rose by 63,000 jobs and 60,000 jobs, respectively, employment at small businesses edged up by 6,000 jobs.

“The job market is weakening, with employment gains slowing significantly across most industries and company sizes,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

“Businesses are hiring cautiously as the economy is struggling with fading fiscal stimulus, the trade uncertainty, and the lagged impact of Fed tightening,” he added. “If employment growth weakens much further, unemployment will begin to rise.”

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report, which includes both public and private sector jobs,

Employment is expected to jump by 180,000 jobs in March after inching up by just 20,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.8 percent.

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