Skilled Worker Shortage
A worker assembles a door at the Fiat Chrysler plant in Warren, Michigan. Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

Companies Add Fewest US Workers in Nearly a Year

The ADP numbers come a day in advance of the latest Labor Department report, and show just 135,000 new jobs for September — 18,000 of them in factories — the fewest added in a month since last October.

Companies added the fewest number of workers in nearly a year in September, reflecting a hit to the U.S. job market from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to data released Wednesday from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey. 

Private payrolls rose by 135,000, matching the estimate, the smallest gain since October 2016, after a revised 228,000 increase in August. Payrolls in goods-producing industries, which include builders and manufacturers, rose 48,000, while service providers added 88,000 workers, also the fewest in 11 months. Hurricanes led to a decrease in net hiring at small companies, ADP says

The report is the latest to show economic data are being affected by the tropical storms. The swings could continue in the coming months, following the pattern seen after major weather events such as superstorm Sandy in the Northeast in 2012.

Excluding the impact of the weather, the labor market continues to make progress, helping to underpin consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy. At the same time, employers face the challenge of finding skilled workers as the job market is tightening.

The ADP results provide a signal for the private payrolls tally in the September jobs report due from the Labor Department on Friday.

Economist Views

“Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hurt the job market in September,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “Looking through the storms, the job market remains sturdy and strong.”

Other Details

Hiring in construction rose by 29,000 in September, while factories added 18,000 workers. … Professional and business services expanded their workforce by 51,000, while education and health services added 29,000 workers. … Employment declined by 18,000 in trade services, transportation and utilities. … Companies employing 500 or more workers increased staffing by 79,000 jobs. Payrolls rose by 63,000 at medium-sized businesses — those with 50 to 499 employees — and small companies reduced payrolls by 7,000.

By Shobhana Chandra

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