Tomorrow we will see the August jobs report from the BLS, so today is Tea-Leaves Reading Day.  The big leading indicator comes from ADP, the payroll-processing giant, which estimates that the US economy added 176,000 jobs in the private sector last month.  That’s a slight miss on expectations, and a drop from the previous month’s ADP report:

Private sector employment increased by 176,000 jobs from July to August, according to the August ADP National Employment Report® . Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP National Employment Report is produced by ADP® , a leading global provider of Human Capital Management (HCM) 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 seasonallyadjusted basis. July’s job gain was revised down slightly from 200,000 to 198,000.

This is basically a mid-range report in the context of the past year, as ADP’s chart shows:


CNBC notes that the manufacturing sector got left in the cold last month:

The private sector added 176,000 jobs in August, about in-line with estimates and indicative that the employment picture continues to notch slow but steady gains.

Almost all of the jobs came from the service sector, which added 165,000 positions. …

Economists expected ADP to report private jobs growth of 180,000[.]

Basically, this is job growth at just above maintenance levels, as we have seen for the last four years of so-called recovery.  The US economy has to add about 150,000 jobs per month net in order to keep up with population growth.  It would take us another decade at this rate to put all of the sidelined workers back in jobs. And let’s not forget that ADP has a track record of overshooting the BLS report, although it has begun to track BLS a bit better over the last couple of years.

What will be the job-growth number tomorrow?  Given the big miss on durable goods in July, I’ll guess at 155K and a 7.4% unemployment rate.  Take your best guess in the poll below: