WASHINGTON: Companies added the fewest workers to payrolls in six months, a private report showed, underscoring a trend of moderating hiring amid pullbacks in corporate investment while pointing to a fourth-quarter economic slowdown.
US stock futures pared gains.
Businesses’ payrolls increased in November by 67,000 – the second-lowest total since 2010 – after a downwardly revised 121,000 gain in October, according to ADP Research Institute data released Wednesday.
That missed the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists that had called for a 135,000 gain.
As the domestic and global economies gradually slow and trade uncertainty stretches on, economists and market participants are watching closely for any signs of a significant pullback in hiring.
The ADP report indicates payroll growth could be slowing more sharply than previously thought.
The Labour Department’s employment report due Friday is forecast to show private payrolls increased by 178,000 in November, though that reflects an expected boost from workers returning following a strike at General Motors Co, an action that didn’t distort the ADP data.
The unemployment rate probably held at 3.6%, near a half-century low, as wages continued steady gains.
The ADP report reflected an 18,000 decrease in goods-producing jobs, with declines spanning all three sub-categories of natural resources, construction and manufacturing.
Employment at service providers rose by 85,000, led by gains in education and health services, while there were declines in trade, transportation and utilities as well as information.
“The job market is losing its shine,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement.
“Manufacturers, commodity producers, and retailers are shedding jobs. Job openings are declining and if job growth slows any further unemployment will increase.” Moody’s produces the figures with ADP.
The smallest businesses – those with fewer than 20 employees – cut jobs, while other company sizes posted increases.
ADP’s payroll data represent about 411,000 firms employing nearly 24 million workers in the US.