WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. private payrolls increased less than expected in August, suggesting that the labor market recovery was slowing as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and fiscal stimulus fades.
The ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed private payrolls rose by 428,000 jobs last month. Data for July was revised up to show hiring gaining 212,000 jobs instead of the initially reported 167,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast private payrolls would increase by 950,000 in August.
The ADP report, jointly developed with Moody’s Analytics, has a poor track record forecasting the private payrolls component of the government’s comprehensive employment report because of differences in methodology.
There are signs the momentum in the labor market is ebbing as money from the government to support workers and employers dries up.
Weekly new applications for unemployment benefits are hovering around 1 million. Data from Kronos, a workforce management software company, showed an increase in shifts in August, but the rise was heavily influenced by the late summer return to school. Adjusting for back-to-school seasonality, weekly shifts fell on average.
According to a Reuters survey of economists, the Labor Department’s jobs report due out on Friday is expected to show private payrolls probably increased by 1.265 million jobs in August after rising 1.462 million in July. Such a gain would result in nonfarm payrolls advancing by 1.4 million jobs last month after increasing 1.763 million. That would leave nonfarm payrolls about 11.5 million below their pre-pandemic level.