A Deeper Look at How Private Payrolls Keep Climbing

If Wall Street was Vegas, the under-over line to watch would be the unemployment numbers. In case you’ve been living in a cave, every economics “expert” and talking head has preached the mantra “The US economy will not truly improve until job growth returns.”

Well, this morning the ADP National Employment Report showed a continuation of increased private payrolls: private-sector employment increased by 179,000 from March to February on a seasonally adjusted basis. For whatever it’s worth, Wall Street economists were expecting an increase of 200,000. Moreover, March’s numbers were revised up to 207,000 from the previously reported of 201,000.

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This month’s ADP National Employment Report shows that labor market conditions continued to improve in April, but only at a moderate pace. While employment accelerated sharply around the turn of the year, the monthly gains have been holding fairly steady around 200,000 since then.  Employment growth at this pace is consistent with only modest declines in the unemployment rate.

According to the ADP Report, employment in the service-providing sector rose by 138,000 in April, marking sixteen consecutive months of employment gains. Employment in the goodsproducing sector rose 41,000, the sixth consecutive monthly gain. Manufacturing employment (NYSE:XLI) rose 25,000, the seventh consecutive monthly gain.

Employment among large businesses, defined as those with 500 or more workers, increased by 11,000 while employment among medium-size businesses, defined as those with between 50 and 499 workers, increased by 84,000. Employment among small- size businesses, defined as those with fewer than 50 workers, increased by 84,000.

In April, construction (NYSE:XHB) employment increased 9,000, only the second monthly increase since June 2007.  Since December 2010, however, construction employment has, on balance, risen, suggesting that finally employment in this sector has bottomed out.  The total decrease in construction employment since its peak in January 2007 is 2,115,000. Employment in the financial services sector increased 4,000 — the same increase as last month.

Stay tuned for Wall St. Cheat Sheet’s coverage of the BLS Unemployment data this Friday.