Private payrolls increased by 103,000 in November, below expectations, ADP says

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Private sector job creation slowed further in November and wages showed their smallest growth in more than two years, payrolls processing firm ADP reported Wednesday.

Companies added just 103,000 workers for the month, slightly below the downwardly revised 106,000 in October and missing the 128,000 Dow Jones estimate.

Along with the modest job growth came a 5.6% increase in annual pay, which ADP said was the smallest gain since September 2021. Job-changers saw wage increases of 8.3%, making the premium for switching positions the lowest since ADP began tracking the data three years ago.

After leading job creation for most of the period since Covid hit in early 2020, leisure and hospitality recorded a loss of 7,000 jobs for the month. Trade, transportation and utilities saw an increase of 55,000 positions, while education and health services added 44,000 and other services contributed 15,000.

Services-related industries provided all the job gains for the month, as goods-producers saw a net loss of 14,000 due to declines of 15,000 in manufacturing, despite the settlement in the United Auto Workers strikes, and 4,000 in construction. Recent layoffs in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street also did not show up in the data, as both sectors posted gains on the month.

“Restaurants and hotels were the biggest job creators during the post-pandemic recovery,” said ADP’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “But that boost is behind us, and the return to trend in leisure and hospitality suggests the economy as a whole will see more moderate hiring and wage growth in 2024.”

Companies with between 50 and 499 employees led job creation, with an addition of 68,000. Small businesses contributed just 6,000.

The ADP report comes two days before the more widely watched nonfarm payrolls count from the Labor Department. The two reports can differ widely, though the numbers for private payrolls were close in October as the Labor Department reported growth of 99,000, just 7,000 below the revised ADP tally.

Including government jobs, nonfarm payrolls increased 150,000 in October and are expected to show growth of 190,000 in November, according to Dow Jones.

Another sign that the labor market is loosening came Tuesday, when the Labor Department reported that job openings declined to 8.73 million in October, the lowest level since March 2021.

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Correction: Annual pay increased 5.6%, which ADP said was the smallest gain since September 2021. An earlier version misstated the month. The Labor Department reported private payroll growth of 99,000 for October, just 7,000 below the revised ADP tally. An earlier version misstated a figure.