Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported that the U.S. economy added 215,000 net new jobs in November. This was the highest rate of monthly job creation in one year and was an improvement from the 168,667 average over the prior six months. ADP revised the September and October data upwards, adding 94,000 workers to the total; October had originally been estimated to be a gain of 130,000, but was revised up to 184,000.
In the manufacturing sector, there were an additional 18,000 net new workers in November, the fastest pace since February 2012. Indeed, year-over-year growth in manufacturing employment was just 20,000 net new hires. This suggests continued hesitance to add new workers over much of the past year. Nonetheless, November’s pickup in hiring was a positive step, mirroring the recent pickup in manufacturing activity since the summer. Still, the gains in hiring remain mostly modest at best.
Other sectors with significant employment increases in November were trade, transportation and utilities (up 45,000), professional and business services (up 38,000), construction (up 18,000), and financial activities (up 5,000). Small and medium-sized firms (e.g., those with less than 500 employees) accounted for 70 percent of the net new job creation in the month.
This report serves as a proxy for the official government employment numbers for November from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will be released on Friday. The consensus estimate is for 185,000 additional nonfarm payroll workers added in the BLS data. The ADP release might push those estimates higher to around 200,000 or so, including modest gains in manufacturing hiring.
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.