ADP Report: Small Business Isn’t Hiring

ADP just released its monthly private-sector employment report. The report says that “employment has increased for three straight months, albeit only modestly.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report, which comes out on Friday, will probably cite a sharp increase in jobs, thanks to Census workers.

The ADP report is compiled by Economic Advisors, LLC, a group whose founder, Lawrence Meyer, sits on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. In other words, ADP’s data is compiled thoroughly, but they’re not completely independent of the government. This is why I take any prognostications associated with their data with a grain of salt:

Private payrolls grew in April, while layoff announcements fell to a nearly four-year low, according to data released Wednesday. Private-sector jobs in the U.S. increased by 32,000 last month…Economists had expected a report of a job gain of 20,000 in April. The estimated change in employment from February to March 2010 was revised up, from a decline of 23,000 to an increase of 19,000. The ADP report now shows three consecutive months of job gains.

The latest ADP report showed large businesses with 500 employees or more added 14,000 employees and medium-size businesses hired 17,000 workers in April. Small businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers increased payrolls by a small 1,000.

Service-sector jobs added 50,000 last month, while factory jobs increased by 29,000. Construction jobs dropped 49,000 last month, bringing the total decline in construction payrolls since their January 2007 peak to 2.2 million jobs.

“Employment has turned the corner,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, “but gains remain muted.”

I’m concerned that small business still appears to be frozen. What’s stalling it? Lack of consumer spending? Lack of bank lending? Something needs to give, otherwise I don’t see how the economy is turning any kind of corner.

Expect to see more positive spin on employment from the media after Friday’s BLS report.

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