Job gains barely beat estimates on the long road back to pre-recession levels
While the economy gained 201,000 private sector jobs last month, those additions are not enough to set the pace for a rapid economic or housing recovery, analysts say. ADP and Macroeconomic Advisors reported those job gains in ADP's latest National Employment Report Wednesday. Analysts blame high unemployment for stifling the nation's housing recovery in the past. "Admittedly, that 201,000 increase was slightly lower than the 208,000 gain in February," said Paul Ashworth, chief economist for Capital Economics. "The more notable point, however, is that over the past four months the monthly gains have averaged more than 200,000, compared with less than 100,000 in the four months before that." He added, "Nevertheless, assuming the labor force starts to rebound again, employment gains of 200,000 a month will lower the unemployment rate only gradually. Another way of looking at this is that at this pace of job creation it would take almost another four years before employment got back to its pre-recession level" Of the 201,000 jobs added by the private sector in March, ADP says the service sector gained the most positions: 164,000 to be exact. "Today’s ADP National Employment Report confirms that U.S. private-sector employment growth has averaged about 175,000 jobs over the last six months," said Gary Butler, CEO of ADP. "Based on real-time information across all markets and industries, the ADP Report continues to estimate solid job growth that is now being reflected in other indicators of employment." TrimTabs Investment Research slightly contradicted the ADP report Wednesday, saying the economy actually created 293,000 new jobs in March, beating out early estimates. Madeline Schnapp, director of macroeconomic research for TrimTabs, said other employment forecasts are falling behind the actual numbers since they do not utilize real-time data. Write to Kerri Panchuk.