Business

US private payrolls beat expectations in September

Business

U.S. private employers stepped up hiring in September, but diminishing government financial assistance and a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country could slow the labor market's recovery from the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: A "We're Hiring" sign advertising jobs is seen at the entrance of a restaurant, as Miami-Dade County eases some of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Bello

30 Sep 2020 10:30PM

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WASHINGTON: U.S. private employers stepped up hiring in September, but diminishing government financial assistance and a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country could slow the labor market's recovery from the pandemic.

Other data on Wednesday confirmed that the economy suffered its sharpest contraction in at least 73 years in the second quarter because of the disruptions from the coronavirus.

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"The job market is getting better," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "But job growth will slow through the rest of 2020 and in 2021. The big gains from business re-openings are fading."

Private payrolls increased by 749,000 jobs this month after rising 481,000 in August, the ADP National Employment Report showed. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast private payrolls would rise by 650,000 in September. Employment gains were spread across all industries and company size.

The ADP report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics. Though it has fallen short of the government's private payrolls count since May because of methodology differences, it is still watched for clues on the labor market's health.

The ADP report is based on active and paid employees on company payrolls. The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counts workers as employed if they received a paycheck during the week that includes the 12th of the month.

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When businesses were shuttered in mid-March, millions of workers were either laid off or furloughed. Economists say the return of furloughed workers when most businesses reopened in May boosted the payrolls numbers reported by the government.

New weekly applications for jobless aid have stalled at higher levels after dropping below 1 million in August as the government changed the way it strips seasonal fluctuations from the data. Data from Homebase, a payroll scheduling and tracking company, showed fewer employees at work in September relative to August.

New daily COVID-19 cases started spiking last week for the first time in eight weeks. Infections are expected to rise in the fall, which economists believe will lead to some restrictions being imposed on businesses in the services sector.

U.S. stock indexes were trading higher. The dollar rose against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices fell.

EMPLOYMENT REPORT AWAITED

The government is scheduled to publish its closely followed employment report, which includes public workers, on Friday.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, private payrolls probably increased by 850,000 jobs in September after rising 1.027 million in August.

With government employment expected to be held back by the departure of some temporary workers hired for the 2020 Census and coronavirus-related budget challenges at sRead More – Source