Private Employment Grows By 140,000 In February, Misses Forecasts: 'It Doesn't Tip The Scales' For The Fed, Economist Says

Zinger Key Points
  • Private employers added 140,000 jobs in February, slightly below the projected 150,000.
  • Wage growth slowed, but job gains remained solid, influencing Fed rate decision speculation.

In February, the rate of employment growth in private U.S. businesses came in slower than anticipated, indicating a gradual easing in labor market dynamics.

According to a report released by Automatic Data Processing Inc. ADP on Wednesday, private employers added 140,000 new jobs, an increase from the revised 107,000 in January and falling short of the projected 150,000.

This data precedes the forthcoming national jobs report expected this Friday, which economists anticipate will show a decrease in non-farm payroll growth from 353,000 in January to 200,000 in February. Forecasts suggest the unemployment rate will remain steady at 3.7%, while average hourly earnings are predicted to grow by 0.3% month-over-month, a deceleration from the previous 0.6%.

ADP Employment Report: Key Highlights

  • Services-providing companies added 110,000 jobs, while goods producers 30,000.
  • Industries experiencing notable increases in employment include leisure and hospitality (41,000), trade, transportation, and utilities (24,000), construction (28,000), financial activities (17,000) and education/health services (11,000). However, manufacturing only added 6,000 jobs, the information sector experienced a loss of 2,000 jobs.
  • Wage growth continued to slow, with job-stayers seeing a 5.1% pay increase, below the 5.2% recorded in January, while job changers experienced a 7.6% increase, marking an increase from the 7.2% in January.
  • Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, said,”Job gains remain solid. Pay gains are trending lower but are still above inflation. In short, the labor market is dynamic, but doesn’t tip the scales in terms of a Fed rate decision this year.”

Market Reactions

The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), as tracked by the Invesco DB USD Index Bullish Fund ETF UUP, fell slightly following the release. Treasury yields mimicked the move, implying steady market convictions that the Fed will lower interest rates later on.

Futures on U.S. equity indices rose substantially during the premarket trading Wednesday, following the drops seen Tuesday. Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 were up by 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively, by 8:20 a.m. ET.

Markets now await Fed Chair Powell’s semiannual testimony before the U.S. Congress at 10:00 ET.

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