Private Sector Added 213,000 Jobs in September, ADP Says

WASHINGTON (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

The private sector added 213,000 net new jobs last month, indicating that the labor market rebounded after a disappointing August, payroll firm Automatic Data Processing said Wednesday.

The September job growth was an improvement from ADP’s figure for the previous month, which it downgraded slightly to 202,000, and better than expected by economists.

The data bode well for Friday’s government report on overall September job growth. Economists expect the Labor Department to report that the economy added 215,000 net new jobs and that the unemployment rate held steady at 6.1 percent.

“All the leading indicators for the job market look good,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in preparing the report.

But the firm, whose monthly report is closely watched by economists, significantly undershot the government’s 142,000 job-growth figure for August.

Economists believe that that slowdown was an anomaly and expect the numbers to be revised up by the Labor Department. Zandi said he expected revisions to boost August job growth close to 200,000.

Based on the ADP figures, Zandi forecast that the government will report that the economy added 220,000 net new jobs in September.

ADP said manufacturing firms added 35,000 net new jobs, the most for that sector since May 2010. Those figures were fueled by strong auto sales, Zandi said.

Construction companies added 20,000 jobs, a solid gain, though down from 23,000 net new positions added in August, ADP said.

The service sector increased its payrolls by 160,000 in September, down from 155,000 in August, the new report said.

Several factors led economists to speculate that the August job-market slowdown was an anomaly.

They include a strike at a grocery-store chain in New England and the fact that August is historically a difficult month for job-creation estimates.

The poor performance ended a streak of six straight months in which job growth exceeded 200,000.

But the Labor Department has revised up its initial figures for August by an average of 80,000 jobs over each of the last four years.

Federal Reserve policymakers are watching labor-market indicators closely to determine when they should start raising short-term interest rates, which have been held near zero since late 2008 to try to stimulate economic growth.