Wednesday, March 05, 2008
The relationships between the Labor Department's employment data, the figures tabulated in the ADP Employment Report, and the reality on the ground have always been hard to decipher, but the fact that the ADP employment report just produced a negative number for the first time since 2003 can't be a good sign.
According to this report from Bloomberg:
The decrease of 23,000 jobs followed a revised gain of 119,000 the prior month that was less than previously estimated, according to the figures from ADP Employer Services.The report also indicated that construction employment fell by 30,000 in February, the fifteenth straight month of declines. The ADP data now puts the total decline in the number of construction jobs at 236,000 since the peak of the housing boom in 2006.
The deepest housing recession in a quarter century and tighter credit for companies and consumers are slowing growth and costing jobs. The report may cause some economists to lower forecasts for the government's payroll data due March 7.
"The labor market is clearly deteriorating and a sustained run of declines is just a matter of time," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics Ltd. in Valhalla, New York.
The ADP report was forecast to show an increase of 18,000, according to the median estimate of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Estimates ranged from a drop of 80,000 to a gain of 100,000.
The Labor Department releases the monthly jobs data on Friday.