Largest Employment Increase in Three Years

Dec 1, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

With two new economic reports today showing hiring growing faster than expected and worker productivity up, the evidence supporting a U.S. recovery is almost unassailable.

While it’s hardly a boom — a Christian Science Monitor headline today used the word “anemic” — the recovery has been picking up steam the last several months. Today’s ADP National Employment Report is particularly encouraging as it says 93,000 workers were added to the payroll of private employers in November. And, it revises upward by 39,000 (to 82,000) the number of workers added in October.

Particularly significant about the ADP report is that it was the largest increase in employment in three years, and that most sectors showed growth. Small businesses, those with fewer than 50 employees, added the most new workers, 54,000. Employers with 50-499 workers added 37,000. Bigger employers added a scant 2,000. Even the manufacturing sector, which has been shrinking, added 16,000 workers.

Meanwhile, revising its preliminary numbers, the U.S. Labor Department said worker productivity increased at a 2.3 percent annual rate during the third quarter of the year. That was right about what economists expected.

Because it foreshadows the more comprehensive government employment report, which will be out Friday, the ADP report is closely watched by economists and investors. A Bloomberg survey showed economists expecting a more modest 70,000 gain. So with the ADP surprise, and improved worker productivity numbers, the stock market opened up this morning. The rise was pushed even higher — the Dow was up over 200 points at noon — by news of a coordinated effort to stabilize the Euro.

The data is consistent with SHRM’s LINE report for the 4th quarter, which said that 26 percent of surveyed firms expected to add staff. The November Line report predicted hiring would be up during the month in manufacturing and the service sector, which the ADP report confirmed.

SHRM also reported that recruiting in some areas is getting more difficult. More recruiters said they had difficulty finding top talent in October than did the year before.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.