ADP: Private sector added 217,000 jobs in November

For the first time in five months, ADP’s projection of monthly private-sector job growth has pushed past the 200K mark. In October, the payroll firm projects a net gain of 217,000 jobs, the best since June in its series. That would tend to corroborate the upward trend from last month’s official jobs report … if it holds up:


Private sector employment increased by 217,000 jobs from October to November according to the November ADP National Employment Report® . Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP National Employment Report is produced by ADP® 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

Most of the growth took place in large corporations, while the jobs markets in goods and construction cooled somewhat:

Payrolls for businesses with 49 or fewer employees increased by 81,000 jobs in November, down from October’s 91,000. Employment among companies with 50-499 employees increased by 62,000 jobs, a bit less than the 67,000 added last month. Employment at large companies – those with 500 or more employees – came in double the upwardly revised 37,000 jobs added in October at 74,000 for the month. Companies with 500-999 added 57,000 jobs, the largest gain for this segment in the history of the ADP National Employment Report. Companies with over 1,000 employees gained 17,000 jobs, after adding 28,000 in October.

Goods-producing employment rose by 13,000 jobs in November, down from 22,000 the previous month. The construction industry added 16,000 jobs after gaining over 30,000 in each of the two previous months. Meanwhile, manufacturing rebounded from two straight months of shedding jobs to add 6,000 in November.

Service-providing employment rose by 204,000 jobs in November, a strong increase from an upwardly revised 174,000 in October. The ADP National Employment Report indicates that professional/business services contributed 59,000 jobs, the largest increase in this sector since June of this year. Trade/transportation/utilities grew by 30,000, off from 36,000 the previous month. The 9,000 new jobs added in financial activities were below the average of the last four months which ranged from 11,000 to 13,000 per month.


ADP had a big miss in its initial report for October, estimating 182K growth while the BLS number was 271K. ADP revised its October estimate upward, but only to 196,000. Normally they come in higher than BLS, but that’s not consistent, either. It’s possible that the BLS surveys missed a downward trend that could get reflected in Friday’s official report, but … who knows?

The Gallup index, updated today, remains positive but slightly off of the mark from most of the year:

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index registered +31 for November. This is similar to the record high of +32 recorded in each of the previous six months.

The +31 to +32 scores found since April represent the highest the index has been since Gallup began measuring employees’ perceptions of job creation at their workplaces in 2008. The index bottomed out at its low of -5 in early 2009 amid the economic recession, meaning that at that point, more workers reported their company was reducing the size of its workforce by letting workers go than said it was expanding its workforce by hiring more workers. Since then, the index has slowly improved, reaching its new highs in 2015.

The results are based on interviews with 16,933 U.S. full- and part-time workers conducted Nov. 1-30 as part of Gallup Daily tracking. Gallup asks employed workers nationwide each day whether their employer is increasing, reducing or maintaining the size of its workforce. In November, 42% of workers said their employer was hiring workers and expanding the size of its workforce — similar to the 43% in October. Meanwhile, 11% said their employer was letting people go and reducing the size of its workforce — the same as in October. The difference between these two estimates produced the U.S. Job Creation Index of +31 for the month.


These are differences on the margins, not a drop of any significance. It’s worth noting, too, that Gallup’s methodology more closely parallels that used by BLS, only Gallup polls all month rather than in just a partial time slice. Based on that reading, one should expect a fairly positive if unspectacular BLS report on Friday, probably in the ADP range rather than that of last month’s BLS report. It’s not enough growth to make a significant dent in the number of sidelined workers, but it keeps ahead of population growth. It’s basically a maintenance number for a stagnation status quo.

That should be enough to prompt the Federal Reserve into action in raising interest rates above zero for the first time since the Great Recession, pulling back slightly on the money supply:

That may not be a great idea, according to the analysis from US News & World Report, but it’s practically baked into the cake by now:

Thanks in part to the headwinds generated by a strong dollar and American inventory glut, economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in November for the first time in three years, according to a report released Tuesday by the Institute for Supply Management. The institute’s monthly PMI report, which acts as an economic bellwether for the industry, showed employment expectations climbed respectably. But most other components of the index were either flat or negative month over month.

“Facing the perfect storm from inventory overhang, a strong U.S. dollar, and tepid demand both internationally and domestically, U.S. producers continue to reduce production,” Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income, wrote in a research note Tuesday. “A removal of accommodation near-term will only serve to exacerbate these pressures on headline activity leading to further disruptions in hiring and potential income gains.”

In mentioning a “removal of accommodation,” Piegza was referring to the Fed’s pending interest rate decision. Most analysts now expect the Federal Open Market Committee to begin lifting rates at their next meeting later this month and to follow up with at least a few small hikes throughout 2016.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her committee place more weight on the Labor Department’s employment numbers, so the ADP report itself isn’t likely to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But with the slew of positive employment, wage and inflation data that’s come in since the FOMC last met in October, most believe it would take something catastrophic to derail a rate hike at this point. A solid – or even passable – employment report on Friday is likely to spur the Fed into liftoff for the first time in nearly a decade.


If a rate hike puts a damper on the economy, expect the White House to push back hard against it. The BLS report will have to be pretty bad at this point for Yellen to back down, though, especially since the Fed has been setting these expectations for months.

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