The US private sector added 247,000 jobs in April, dramatically slowing hiring amid surging inflation
Private-sector firms added 247,000 jobs in April, according to ADP’s monthly hiring report.
That came in below the median forecast of 395,000 new private payrolls and marked the smallest gain since August.
The report signals the labor market’s recovery slowed through April amid strong inflation.
The private sector’s hiring recovery slowed into the second quarter amid elevated inflation and the persistently wide gap between worker supply and demand.
Private-sector businesses added 247,000 jobs through April, ADP said in its monthly employment report on Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected an increase of 395,000 payrolls. The gain reflects a sizeable slowdown from the growth seen through March and the smallest monthly gain since August.
The March increase was revised to 479,000 payrolls from 455,000.
“The labor market recovery showed signs of slowing as the economy approaches full employment,” Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, said in the report. “While hiring demand remains strong, labor supply shortages caused job gains to soften for both goods producers and services providers.”
April represented the first full month with higher interest rates and, as such, a slightly harder environment for hiring. The Federal Reserve raised rates in March for the first time since the pandemic crash in a bid to ease demand and cool inflation. The move lifted borrowing costs throughout the economy, and the expected slowdown in economic growth could rein in the pace at which businesses rehire.
Firms also continued to grapple with the highest inflation in more than four decades. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roiling supply chains and driving commodity prices sharply higher, job creation could slow as businesses prioritize their margins over hiring efforts.
The outlook was bleakest for small businesses. Firms with fewer than 50 employees shed 120,000 payrolls through the month, marking the largest one-month decline for the group since the initial lockdowns of 2020.
Businesses with at least 500 workers counted for the bulk of the month’s overall gain by adding 321,000 payrolls. Medium-sized firms — those with between 50 and 499 workers — created 46,000 payrolls.
Service-industry firms also led the way as virus infections held at relatively low levels and the economy remained open. The industry added 202,000 jobs in April, led by a 77,000-payroll uptick among leisure and hospitality firms. Professional and business services followed with a gain of 50,000 jobs, and education and health services created 48,000 private payrolls.
Goods-producing businesses added just 46,000 jobs through the month. The industry has been hit particularly hard by high inflation, as soaring energy and commodity costs have crashed into still-unsolved supply chain issues. Manufacturers fared the best, creating 25,000 private payrolls in April. Construction businesses added 16,000 jobs, and natural resources and mining firms created just 4,000 payrolls.
The disappointing payroll growth offers a foreboding sign that the government’s own jobs report could badly miss expectations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to show the US adding 400,000 nonfarm payrolls through April when it reports new data on Friday, while the unemployment rate is forecasted to match the pre-crisis record-low of 3.5%.
To be sure, the pandemic has seen ADP’s data diverge significantly from the government’s own count, meaning there’s still a good chance the Friday report exceeds expectations. Yet as the country creeps closer to a full recovery and the labor shortage charges forward, the hiring environment is only getting tougher for employers.
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