US private employers add 428,000 jobs in August, signaling slow recovery from pandemic

The data is typically a good indicator of what to expect in the jobs report from the Labor Department

Private employers added 428,000 jobs in August, indicating the nation's pandemic-ravaged labor market is continuing to slowly recover from the coronavirus crisis, according to the ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday.

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It missed the 950,000-job increase that economists surveyed by Refinitiv had expected, but marked a jump from the upwardly revised 212,000 jobs added in July.

“The August job postings demonstrate a slow recovery,” Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said in a statement. “Job gains are minimal, and businesses across all sizes and sectors have yet to come close to their pre-COVID-19 employment levels."

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August hiring was spread across most industries, with the biggest gains taking place in leisure and hospitality, with 129,000 added, and education and health services, with 100,000 added.

Trade, transportation and utilities increased by 58,000, while professional and business services added 66,000. Construction saw an increase of 28,000, and manufacturing positions edged up by 9,000.

"All the growth has been, since the April low, in industries that were directly impacted," Mark Zandi, Moody's chief economist, said during a call with reporters.

Large businesses led industries by size with the addition of 298,000 jobs last month at firms that employ more than 500 workers. Medium businesses added 79,000 jobs, and small businesses added employees 52,000.

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While the data is typically a good indicator of what to expect in the more closely watched jobs report from the Labor Department, the ADP figure has regularly missed the government's count since the pandemic began in mid-March. (In June, for instance, ADP initially said private employers added 2.37 million jobs -- well below the 4.8 million reported by the U.S. government. It also said the economy lost 2.7 million jobs in May, while the Labor Department reported a gain of 2.5 million).

The Labor Department's jobs report is predicted to show the U.S. economy added 1.4 million jobs last month, down slightly from July's gain of 1.8 million. Analysts anticipate unemployment will edge lower to 9.8 percent from 10.2 percent.

The report will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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