April Unemployment Not Looking Good

If the jobs figures released by ADP today are any indication, then the BLS Job Survey that will be released Friday doesn’t look like it’s going to turn out to be very good:

The gloomy news continued for jobs as ADP reported Wednesday that private companies created just 119,000 new positions in April.

That was well below expectations and confirmation that the labor market is slowing heading into late spring and early summer.

Economists surveyed by Reuters expected the ADP report to show the private sector created 150,000 jobs in April, down from 158,000 in March.

“Nearly every industry has seen slower growth since the beginning of the year,” Moody’s economist Mark Zandi said on CNBC. “Smaller businesses are experiencing much weaker growth.”

Moody’s Analytics conducts the survey in conjunction with ADP.

The report comes two days before the government releases its nonfarm payrolls growth count for April. Economists recently have been nudging down their projections, which are pegged around 150,000 after March’s dismal 88,000 reading.

Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal comments:

The number is out and it’s weak.

Analysts were looking for 150K new private sector jobs.

Instead the number just came in at just 119K.

Remember, ADP just captures the private sector side of Non-Farm payrolls, so it’s not a perfect analogue for the official jobs report, which will come out on Friday.
That being said, over time the number is consistent with official numbers, and this number in particular is consistent with a lot of the weak data.

I’ve noted before that ADP’s numbers don’t always gel very well with the BLS numbers, but the general trends do end up coalescing over time, and right now both the BLS and ADP are showing a shrinking job market, a fact that the recent, mostly disappointing, GDP numbers only serve to reinforce. Prepare yourself for some less than encouraging news on Friday.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    What can we do? Burn Krugman in effigy?

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    As the proportion of payrolls that ADP processes dwindles, the farther their projections stray from those of the BLS. They’re still worth something if only to determine which way the wind is blowing but I don’t rely on them much any more.

  3. stonetools says:

    @john personna:

    We certainly can’t admit that cobnservative nostrums about austerity and deficit reduction are dead wrong. No, let’s keep pretending that nothing can be done.
    The data on the economy and inflation shows that economic growth is now so slow that we may be in danger of deflation.But hey, there is nothing we can do.

  4. Ben Wolf says:

    The economy slowed considerably after Q1 of 2010, 2011, 2012 so I don’t see how this was unexpected if true. For one thing tax refund “stimulus” is largely over by April. It isn’t that the economy is slowing, rather it’s reverting to its now-normal slump.

  5. Ben Wolf says:

    FOMC openly states poor fiscal policy (austerity) is becoming a hindrance:

    Labor market conditions have shown some improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth.


  6. C. Clavin says:

    Still waiting for anyone to name a similar economy that has produced significant growth while reducing the size of the public sector.
    If you can’t…then why do you expect this one to do that?
    It’s pretty basic math we’re talking about here.