ADP reports private employers added 374,000 jobs in August, well below consensus forecast.

Payroll processor ADO released its National Employment Report for August, showing the private sector added 374,000 jobs in the month.

“Our data, which represents all workers on a company’s payroll, has highlighted a downshift in the labor market recovery. We have seen a decline in new hires, following significant job growth from the first half of the year,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “Despite the slowdown, job gains are approaching 4 million this year, yet still 7 million jobs short of pre-COVID-19 levels. Service providers continue to lead growth, although the Delta variant creates uncertainty for this sector. Job gains across company sizes grew in lockstep, with small businesses trailing a bit more than usual.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The Delta variant of COVID-19 appears to have dented the job market recovery. Job growth remains strong, but well off the pace of recent months. Job growth remains inextricably tied to the path of the pandemic.”

Calculated Risk notes,

This was well below the consensus forecast of 638,000 for this report.

The BLS report will be released Friday, and the consensus is for 728 thousand non-farm payroll jobs added in August. The ADP report has not been very useful in predicting the BLS report.

We’d add that employers continue to report unfilled jobs, signaling the persistent labor shortage.