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An Ominous Private Jobs Report

This morning, ADP, a payroll processing firm, put out its latest employment report. It isn’t good. Between July and August, private employers shed an estimated 10,000 workers; economists expected an increase of about 20,000 jobs.

Moreover, ADP revised down July’s increase from 42,000 jobs to 37,000. Over the past six months, private employers have added 37,000 jobs per month, according to ADP’s estimates. To put that in context, the economy needs to add 100,000 to 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with the country’s growing population, and there are currently 14.5 million unemployed persons looking for work.

On top of all that, ADP notes that it expects the government’s official employment report, due on Friday, to be worse. “[T]oday’s [ADP] figure does not include the effects of federal hiring — and now firing — for the 2010 Census,” the company notes. “Hiring for the census peaked in May. For this reason, Friday’s figure for the change in nonfarm total employment reported by the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] might be weaker than today’s estimate for nonfarm private employment in the ADP National Employment Report.”

That means that both private and public employment might decline — meaning, unless the labor force shrinks dramatically, the unemployment rate will rise.

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