Automatic Data Processing (ADP) said that manufacturing employment increased by 5,000 workers for the second straight month in March. As such, hiring in the sector has rebounded somewhat from the decline in employment observed in January due to winter weather conditions. Still, it is also clear that hiring has not fully recovered, with employment growth below the average of 13,000 per month seen from August to December of last year.
Looking at the overall figures, ADP said that there were 191,000 net new private, nonfarm payroll workers generated in March. This brought monthly job growth back to where it was in December, recovering from the much-softer data seen in both January and February (up 121,000 and 178,000, respectively). To put this in perspective, the average monthly job growth in 2013 was 187,000, with an average of 204,000 in the second half of the year.
In March, the largest job gains were seen in the professional and business services (up 53,000); trade, transportation and utilities (up 36,000); construction (up 20,000); and financial activities (up 5,000) sectors. Small and medium-sized establishments (e.g., those with fewer than 500 employees) contributed almost 65 percent of the net new jobs, adding 124,000 workers for the month.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release official jobs numbers on Friday, and the expectation is for employment growth similar to the ADP report. Nonfarm payrolls are anticipated to grow around 200,000, with manufacturing employment between 5,000 and 10,000.
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.