ADP says private sector hiring slowed to three-month low


Bloomberg News/Landov

Job seekers attend a career expo in Detroit, Michigan last November.

The numbers: Private-sector employment has “throttled back” in February, according to the economist who prepared the data released Wednesday. Employers added 183,000 jobs in February, compared with a revised 300,000 in January, ADP reported. The gain in February was close to forecasts from economists who expected a gain of 180,000.

What happened: Details of ADP’s report showed that small firms added 12,000 jobs in February, medium-sized businesses added 95,000 and large companies added 77,000. The slowdown was clearest in retail and travel industries, ADP said.

The professional services sector has the biggest gain in February followed by health care and education.

What they are saying: “Job gains are still strong but they have likely seen their high watermark for this expansion,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Big picture: Michael Feroli, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase, notes that ADP has been on a “hot streak” recently, with the first print of the ADP report closer to the Labor Department’s estimate of private payroll growth for the month than the consensus forecast produced by Bloomberg.

According to the MarketWatch forecast, the U.S. probably added 174,000 new jobs in February after a gain of 304,000 in January, with the unemployment rate slipping to 3.9%. The Labor Department’s report, which comes out Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern , includes government as well as private-sector workers.

Market reaction: Stocks were expected to open lower Wednesday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.05%

  lost 219 points in the last two trading days.

Source : MTV