Employment data varies ahead of nonfarm payroll report
The first wave of August job figures are out, and now analysts can tweak their estimates for the government's nonfarm payroll numbers due Friday. Payroll company Automatic Data Processing said private-sector employment fell 10,000 in August. ADP also revised its July private-sector jobs figure downward to a gain of 37,000 from a prior estimate of a 42,000 increase. ADP and its consultant, Macroeconomic Advisers, don't track government jobs in their survey. The average analyst estimate predicted the ADP data for August would show an increase of 15,000 private-sector jobs. A Thomson Reuters poll called for a 19,000 gain in the ADP figure for the month. Meanwhile, TrimTabs Investment Research estimates 65,000 total jobs were lost in August. The Census Bureau cut 116,400 jobs while state and local governments issued another 20,000 pink slips, and the private sector added about 70,000 jobs during the month, according to TrimTabs, which bases its figures on daily income-tax withholding data. On Friday, the government is scheduled to report nonfarm payrolls for August, and economists polled by MarketWatch are looking for an overall decline of 105,000, including an expected increase of 25,000 jobs in the private sector. A Thomson Reuters survey expects August nonfarm payroll jobs to decline by 100,000, with a gain of 41,000 private-sector jobs. The estimates range between an overall drop of 160,000 to a gain of 75,000 new jobs. Most economists assume the U.S. economy needs to create at least 150,000 jobs each month to account for population growth and keep unemployment levels stable. TrimTabs said the weak private-sector job growth "is not sufficient to absorb new entrants to the workforce, keep GDP growth above trend, and reduce the unemployment rate." The firm also said uncertainty about the size of the COBRA reimbursements present a significant challenge to its employment model. Write to Jason Philyaw.