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US added 129,000 private sector jobs in March

The US added the lowest number of private payrolls since 2017.

The US added 129,000 private sector jobs in March, according to the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) National Employment Report. That statistic is less than the 173,000 positions expected from economists and is the lowest amount in almost two years.

March US private sector jobs: key figures

Education and health services +56,000
Professional and business services +41,000
Construction -6000
Manufacturing -2000

March US private sector jobs details

There were additions to private sector jobs in the education and health industries in March. Last month, those industries added 56,000 employees. Professional and business services jobs increased by adding 41,000 new private sector payrolls. While those industries added jobs, two sectors lost employees. Construction lost 6,000 jobs and manufacturing positions declined by 2000.

What do the private sector job statistics mean for the US economy?

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, believes the private payroll statistics are a worrying sign for the US economy.

‘The job market is weakening, with employment gains slowing significantly across most industries and company sizes,’ said Zandi.

He also noted that the uncertainty about a possible US-China trade deal and the diminishing benefits of 2018 tax cuts are affecting the sluggish rate of new hires.

‘Businesses are hiring cautiously as the economy is struggling with fading fiscal stimulus, the trade uncertainty, and the lagged impact of Fed tightening. If employment growth weakens much further, unemployment will begin to rise,’ added Zandi.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that ADP’s low March numbers were impacted by February’s weak employment figures because of harsh weather.

‘Frustratingly, the influence of the prior month's official numbers is impossible to isolate consistently in advance. Usually, the effect of weak official numbers on the next ADP reading is seen in the month after severe weather events,’ said Shepherdson.

Wall Street is hoping that the US employment figures for March that will be released later this week will have better news than the discouraging ADP employment report.

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