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US job growth slows to 183,000 in February, ADP says

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Wednesday 06 Mar 2019

US job growth slows to 183,000 in February, ADP says

(Sharecast News) - The US jobs market cooled more rapidly than expected last month, but from a much higher base of comparison and in any case economists were continuing to predict steady demand for labour.
According to consultancy ADP, monthly private sector payrolls grew by 183,000 in February, versus an upwardly revised gain of 300,000 for January.

Economists had anticipated an increase of 189,000 after an initially estimated jump of 213,000 for the previous month.

Medium-sized firms accounted for most of the hiring, adding 95,000 people to their payrolls, followed by a rise of 77,000 among large corporations and a gain of just 12,000 among small businesses.

By sectors, hiring was strong in services, where 139,000 people found new jobs, with professional and business services (49,000) and education and health care and social assistance (39,000) sporting the biggest increases.

"ADP's methodology means that some of that strength will have filtered into the Feb reading, so the relatively modest 183K increase suggests that the data gleaned from firms which use ADP's payroll processing services was on the soft side," said Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The monthly ADP report was closely-followed by market watchers in so far as it sometimes offered a useful insight into the official monthly jobs data which were typically published two days afterwards.

But while ahead of the Wednesday ADP numbers consensus was already projecting a slowdown in the rate of growth in US non-farm payrolls from January's pace of 304,000 to 185,000, Shepherdson was expecting a print of just 125,000.

Describing the January jobs gain as "outsized", Shepherdson said the figures had been boosted by favourable weather and the double-counting of public sector hiring due to the partial federal government shutdown.

Nonetheless, "looking ahead, the trend in labor demand appears consistent with payroll growth in the high 100s."

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