WASHINGTON – A private survey shows that businesses added jobs at a modest pace in January, a sign that hiring may have rebounded after a disappointing figure in December.
Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies added 175,000 jobs last month. That’s down from 227,000 in December, which was revised lower. But it was much better than the government’s official figure of just 74,000 new jobs in December.
The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government’s more comprehensive report. In December, its figure was much higher than the official count.
The job gains in ADP’s report, while lower than its December figure, are in line with average monthly hiring for the past two years.
Fears have risen in recent weeks that the U.S. and global economies may be weakening. Those fears have caused sharp falls in stock markets worldwide.
Many economists said bad weather was partly to blame for the sharp fall-off in December hiring. Job gains had averaged 214,000 a month from August through November, nearly three times the government’s December total.
And Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which compiles the ADP report, said cold weather continued to weigh on the job numbers. Excluding the impact of bad weather, hiring is likely occurring at 175,000 to 200,000 new jobs a month, he said.
I don’t think anything fundamental has changed in the economy, Zandi said.
Moody’s is still forecasting that hiring will pick up this year and average about 225,000 a month.