Weak private sector US employment data hits markets

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The markets are down heavily today as the ADP (Automatic Data Processing) shows  the weakest growth in US private sector employment in seven months. The Dow Jones Industrials are down 50 points to 13,229 and the FTSE 100 is down 57 at 5,755.

The data showed an increase of  119,000 in April, the lowest result since September 2011, and down from average monthly employment increases of about 200,000 in the first quarter of 2012.  Service-providing employment rose 123,000 in April, while goods-producing jobs fell 4,000. By employer size, small businesses gained 58,000 jobs, medium businesses gained 57,000 jobs, and large businesses gained 4,000 jobs.

The ADP level for March was revised to a gain of 201,000 from a prior estimate of 209,000.

ADP’s low private-sector growth means it is unlikely that the national unemployment rate declined for the month, meaning that Friday’s non farm payroll data for April is likely to be weak (expectations of a gain of 150,000-175,000 with an 8.2% unemployment rate, compared with a 120,000 increase in March).

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