Employment in the U.S. private sector increased by less than expected in the month of March, according to a report released by payroll processor ADP on Wednesday.
ADP said private sector employment rose by 145,000 jobs in March after climbing by an upwardly revised 261,000 jobs in February.
Economists had expected private sector employment to advance by 200,000 jobs compared to the addition of 242,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
“Our March payroll data is one of several signals that the economy is slowing,” said ADP chief economist Nela Richardson. “Employers are pulling back from a year of strong hiring and pay growth, after a three-month plateau, is inching down.”
The weaker than expected private sector job growth came as employment in the service-providing sector increased by a relatively modest 75,000 jobs.
Job growth in the leisure/hospitality and trade/transportation/utilities sectors was partly offset by decreases in employment in the financial activities and professional/business services sectors.
Meanwhile, employment in the goods-producing sector rose by 70,000 jobs, as increases in employment in the construction and natural resources/mining sectors more than offset a drop in manufacturing jobs.
The report also said employment at small businesses climbed by 101,000 jobs, while midsized businesses added 33,000 jobs and employment at large businesses edged up by 10,000 jobs.
ADP noted pay growth decelerated for both job stayers and job changers, with year-over-year growth for job stayers slowing to 6.9 percent in March from 7.2 percent in February and growth for job changers slowing to 14.2 percent from 14.4 percent.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report, which includes both public and private sector jobs.
Economists currently expect the report to show employment increased by 240,000 jobs in March after climbing by 311,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 percent.
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