Job growth slowed to a crawl in November, with private payrolls increasing by just 67,000, according to an estimate Wednesday from ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
The count was well below the 150,000 consensus from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and the lowest month since May. The big miss could call into question the relatively rosy estimates for Friday’s closely watched nonfarm payrolls report from the Labor Department, with the current forecast of 187,000 boosted by the return of striking GM workers.
November’s tally also was a sharp decline from the 121,000 in October, which was revised down from an initially reported 125,000.
“The job market is losing its shine,” Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Manufacturers, commodity producers, and retailers are shedding jobs. Job openings are declining, and if job growth slows any further unemployment will increase.”
Despite the end of the GM autoworkers strike, goods-producing industries lost 18,000 jobs for the month. The decline came amid an even split from natural resources/mining, construction, and manufacturing.
Trade, transportation and utilities, a sector that often leads job creation, saw a 15,000 loss, while information services also declined by 8,000.
Small businesses also had a poor month, as firms with fewer than 20 employees saw a drop of 15,000 workers.
Service industries otherwise saw some solid job growth. Leading sectors were education and health services (39,000), professional and business services (28,000) and leisure and hospitality (18,000). Wall Street-related jobs also gained, adding 11,000 to the total.
From a size perspective, the bulk of job creation came from bigger businesses. Companies with 50-499 employees added 29,000, while big business contributed 27,000. Those with 20-49 employees grew by 25,000.
The ADP/Moody’s count and the official government report can differ widely at times, though they often jibe at least in terms of direction. In October, ADP showed a growth of 121,000 private jobs, compared with the Labor Department’s tally of 131,000. Government jobs, which are not included in the ADP count, declined by 3,000 in October.
Consensus estimates are for the unemployment rate to hold near a 50-year low of 3.6%.