ADP: 198,000 private-sector jobs added in February

posted at 8:41 am on March 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

With the BLS jobs report due on Friday, we once again start looking at the precursor data.  ADP, the payroll-processing giant, predicts that the US added 198,0000 jobs in the previous month, which would be a relatively positive report — if reliable:

Private sector employment increased by 198,000 jobs from January to February, according to the February ADP National Employment Report® , which is produced by ADP® , a leading provider of human capital management solutions, in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics. The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally adjusted basis. The January 2013 report, which reported job gains of 192,000, was revised upward by 23,000 to 215,000 jobs.

That’s one issue with ADP’s reliability.  Their original January analysis overshot the BLS report by 35,000, as the government only showed a water-treading level of 157,000 jobs added.  The BLS could certainly revise the previous report, but a revision of that size would have eyes popping and critics demanding some answers.  Despite their efforts to reform their analysis to make it more predictive, it seems that it’s still a good idea to use a 60-80% rule when it comes to ADP, whose analyses usually are valuable in defining trends rather than data points. That would put a good guess at Friday’s BLS number at around 160,000 — another water-treading number, and more in line with the economic data coming from January.

In fact, that’s what the market more or less expects, too, according to CNBC:

Private companies added 198,000 jobs in February, well ahead of analyst estimates and indicating that the labor market is continuing to thaw, according to a report Wednesday.

Economists had expected the count by ADP and Moody’s Analytics to show 170,000 new positions.

The report comes two days before the Department of Labor releases its nonfarm payrolls total, which likely will show a net of 152,000 new positions. The Labor numbers include government positions.

Gallup isn’t quite as optimistic.  Two weeks ago, they reported that jobseekers couldn’t find any momentum toward “quality” jobs in the market.  Their last weekly payroll-to-population figure dropped two tenths of a point to 43.3%, and their take on the unemployment rate (corresponding to the BLS U-3 number) rose two tenths of a point to 8.1%.  Gallup surveys roughly parallel those of the BLS Household Survey, which at least theoretically makes it a better predictor for BLS data.

Either way, the numbers don’t show any real momentum to the scale of job creation needed to re-employ the millions that left the workforce in hopelessness over the last five years.   We need a lot more than 198,000 jobs per month to get those workers back in the workforce.


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ADP always overshoots their estimates. It sounds like we’ll get another 150,000-165,000 figure which is right in line with what we’re used to. I supposed you could say that it’s a little better given that February was only 28 days long and the number remained steady despite the January tax hikes, but bottom line is the economy is still stagnant.

Doughboy on March 6, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Victims of Sequestrocalypse rejoice…or something.

hillsoftx on March 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Bottom line, its Republicans fault if we are below this number, and because of Obama if we are at or above it.

Gatsu on March 6, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Yet real earning power has stayed stagnant, your employment dollar is worth what it was in 2009.

Bishop on March 6, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Are these 29/hr per week jobs?

workingclass artist on March 6, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Are they ever right?

gophergirl on March 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

What is the number that the economy has to create every month just to keep up with those coming into the work force?

Wasn’t it 200,000 or 250,000?

Face it folks, as long as Obama is in the White House and the Obamacare death star is circling the economy it isn’t going to give consumers any confidence……….and they drive 65% of the economy.

THAT is the great truth that AP (Administration Press) always, always, always never mentions.

PappyD61 on March 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

“It would have been millions of jobs..
if it weren’t for that Republican Sequester” – Obama

Electrongod on March 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Whoop. De. Fracking. Do.

Sekhmet on March 6, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Victims of Sequestrocalypse rejoice…or something.

hillsoftx on March 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Thread winner.

Polish Rifle on March 6, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Anything north of 200K…

…credit goes to Sequestration.

budfox on March 6, 2013 at 9:25 AM

BO creates a minimum wage part-time economy and now expects “rich” middle class to pay for trying to fill in the gaping chasms created between prosperity, survival, and starvation. History says that’s never worked.

MarkT on March 6, 2013 at 9:32 AM

ADP and Moody’s are simply making these numbers up.

These statistics have no firm basis in reality and the constant revisions (including those done annually to make them seem more retrospectively accurate) underlines their uselessness.

Most people working in the market know this is a garbage statistic. The only reason some stocks move based on the numbers is; a)Nothing else is available on the day they come out and b)Stock trading algo’s consider them (wrongly).

But it is great for a few laughs as you deconstruct tangible events across industries and shockingly find ADP/Moodys is once again fudging (ahead of the BLS fudge).

Marcus Traianus on March 6, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Meanwhile, Washington remains focused on the really important stuff —- like trashing the 2nd amendment.

tngmv on March 6, 2013 at 9:47 AM

How many of these jobs are part time because employers have to adjust to Obamacare?… All over the country, employers and in particular small to middle size are reducing the working hours for them employees below 30 hours to be exempted from Obamacare and so they do not have to provide insurance to their employees… I am certain that to make up for these reduced hours they need to hire extra part time employees…

mnjg on March 6, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Why do we act every month as though ADP is even marginally close to the actual numbers?

BKeyser on March 6, 2013 at 9:56 AM

The BLS could certainly revise the previous report, but a revision of that size would have eyes popping and critics demanding some answers.

And that would bad because?

tru2tx on March 6, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Either way, the numbers don’t show any real momentum to the scale of job creation needed to re-employ the millions that left the workforce in hopelessness over the last five years. We need a lot more than 198,000 jobs per month to get those workers back in the workforce.

Well if those dam# Republicans would just let Obama raise the he!! out of taxes…
………….gut our energy resources even more…
……increase our debt/deficits with massive spending…
……………..funnel billions of tax dollars to the unions and green lobbyist…..
……………….take more vacations….
………..implement the massive costs of Obamacare on businesses and individuals…..
…………………….and drown our businesses with regulations then the job market will take off like a Rocket……
…………….We can all be Detroit.

Baxter Greene on March 6, 2013 at 10:21 AM

That ought to offset the 170 million jobs we’ll lose to the sequester.

The Rogue Tomato on March 6, 2013 at 10:23 AM

I’m sure the government will find an excuse to delay Friday’s report. Something like IT SNOWED HERE!

GarandFan on March 6, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Barack Obama:

“So every time that we get a piece of economic news, over the next month, next two months, next six months, as long as the sequester is in place, we’ll know that that economic news could have been better if Congress had not failed to act.”

So in the future, all bad economic news is not his fault. Whatever it is.

Curtiss on March 6, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Mediocre jobs report (maybe) plus stocks going sky high.

Umm, what’s wrong with this picture.

WitchDoctor on March 6, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Get ready for March, because all the fakery that has been going into jobs numbers, GDP, etc, will be pulled out in March, so the rat-eared bastard has something to pin on Republicans.

slickwillie2001 on March 6, 2013 at 11:19 AM

How many of these jobs are part time because employers have to adjust to Obamacare?… All over the country, employers and in particular small to middle size are reducing the working hours for them employees below 30 hours to be exempted from Obamacare and so they do not have to provide insurance to their employees… I am certain that to make up for these reduced hours they need to hire extra part time employees…

mnjg on March 6, 2013 at 9:53 AM

The most interesting thing going on is job-sharing by employers. The manager of Burger King and the Wendy’s across the street get together informally and set schedules for ‘shared workers’. Each employee works less than 29 hours per employer, thus escaping the morass of Obamacare.

slickwillie2001 on March 6, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Some TV financial wizard said that the Market is taking off and national prosperity will follow in six months. I believe that was a historical trend prediction.

Cindy Munford on March 6, 2013 at 11:34 AM

While Rome burned ADP fiddled.

can_con on March 6, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Are these 29/hr per week jobs?

workingclass artist on March 6, 2013 at 8:54 AM

yep, lots of part time jobs getting created. Obamacare has just started to kick in. Look for considerably worse conditions in the work force. Trickle up poverty is on the move…

RedInMD on March 6, 2013 at 12:27 PM

yep, lots of part time jobs getting created. Obamacare has just started to kick in. Look for considerably worse conditions in the work force. Trickle up poverty is on the move…

RedInMD on March 6, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Yep, we’re going to have more “working poor”.

22044 on March 6, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Have to be impressed with the resilience of the US economy here; like most we expected a weak 1Q13, but so far the numbers have been surprisingly good. We’re pleased with the early Feb numbers (including a nice jump in the ISM non-manufacturing index this week), although factory orders came in a tad weak. Still, the economy seems to be stronger than it has been in a while, and we are slowing coming around to the view that 1Q13 GDP may be better than first thought – time will tell. Watch the employment report on Friday carefully …. the markets? Oh, we’ve already seen what they think … let it ride … and see ya at 15K?

TouchdownBuddha on March 6, 2013 at 1:52 PM