Private payroll administration job growth slowed sharply in November, evidence that the historically hot job market is finally starting to cool, according to the ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday morning.
Companies added just 127,000 jobs last month, missing the 200,000 gains economists polled by Refinitiv had predicted.
The weaker-than-expected report comes as the Federal Reserve wages its most aggressive battle since the 1980s to crush inflation and put the brakes on the labor market with a series of rapid rate hikes.
“Turning points can be hard to catch in the labor market, but our data suggests that Federal Reserve tightening is having an impact on job creation and wage increases,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP. “In addition, companies are no longer in hyper-replacement mode. Fewer people are dropping out and the post-pandemic recovery is stabilizing.”
THE FED’S WAR AGAINST INFLATION COULD COST 1 M JOBS
Most of November’s gains came from the leisure and hospitality sector, which attracted 224,000 new workers. Commerce, transportation and utilities followed with 62,000 hires, followed by education and healthcare with an increase of 55,000.
The biggest losses, meanwhile, were in the manufacturing industry, where payrolls fell by 100,000. 77,000 jobs were lost in professional and business services and 34,000 in the financial sector.
By size, only medium-sized companies employing between 50 and 499 workers added jobs last month, with an increase of 246,000. Large companies lost 68,000 workers, while small businesses, most affected by the worst inflation in four decades, laid off 51,000 workers.
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Despite moderate job growth in November, the labor market experienced another month of strong wage increases, according to the report, now co-produced with Stanford Digital Economy Lab. Wages rose by 7.6% in November, a slightly slower pace than the 7.7% recorded in October – a worrying development as consumers continue to face high inflation.
The data precedes the release of November’s more closely watched jobs report on Friday morning, which is expected to show employers hiring 200,000 workers after a gain of 261,000 in October. Unemployment is expected to remain stable at 3.7%.