The ADP National Employment Report for July mirrors what most Americans already know – the nation’s economy is sputtering. The report issued by the payroll firm indicates that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 114,000 from June to July. The report precedes Friday’s official government numbers that will be issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The ADP report, based on a survey of a subset of the company’s 500,000 U.S. business clients, offers a snapshot of employment activity in the private sector. Employment in the small business sector, those businesses with up to 49 workers, increased by 58,000 last month and medium sized firms (50 to 499 workers) added 47,000 workers. Big business continues to struggle. Large firms, employing 500 or more workers, only added 9,000 workers to their payrolls.
There was also varying results across sectors. Professional and business services added 55,000 workers and education and health care accounted for 48,000 new jobs. It was the 19th consecutive month of employment gains in the service providing sector. By contrast, employment in construction continued to decline, marking the third consecutive month of losses. In July, employment in the construction industry fell by 11,000; still reeling from the implosion of the housing market. There has been a loss of 2,135,000 jobs in the construction industry since it peaked in January 2007. Employment in the financial services sector fell by 1,000 jobs last month. Like construction, the final services sector has been in a slump since the start of 2007, shedding 687,000 jobs.
Wall Street and Capitol Hill will be paying close attention to tomorrow’s BLS report, as the numbers on the economy come after a tense debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling and its long-term deficit. Though last-minute action by Congress preserved the nation’s triple-A credit rating, some fear the nasty tone of the partisan bickering over the deficit may have a lasting negative impact on economic activity. The June BLS report was dismal, with few new jobs created and unemployment, particularly among African-Americans, still dangerously high. The White House has signaled its intent to make job creation a priority though there is little to suggest that Republicans on Capitol Hill are willing to negotiate a jobs package with the President.