Automated Data Processing (ADP) said that manufacturing employment fell by 5,000 net employees in April, its first decline since October. Manufacturers had added 81,000 net new jobs over the past four months. Note that the official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures for the last four months show manufacturers adding 148,000 workers over that time frame, with new figures coming out on Friday.
For the economy as a whole, ADP reported that there were 119,000 new nonfarm, private payrolls. This was the slowest growth since September and was well below some analysts’ estimates (which were closer to 180,000). Given recent weaknesses, the slower job growth should not have been too much of a surprise.
Small and medium-sized employers (e.g., those with less than 500 employees) accounted for all but nearly 18,000 of those jobs. In the goods-producing sectors which include manufacturing, only medium-sized payrolls (e.g., those with 50 to 499 employees) had net job gains for the month, up by 8,000 net new workers.
These figures suggest slightly lower payroll numbers for April from BLS on Friday. The current consensus estimate is for a net increase of 165,000, but I would not be surprised if they came in closer to last month’s 120,000 nonfarm payroll gain.
Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.