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Wall Street Discounts ADP Job Loss Report

The U.S. lost 10,000 private sector jobs in August, according to the ADP National Employment Report.

Released this morning, the report says the loss came from small and medium sized employers (those with up to 499 employees). Large employers added 1,000 workers.

Adding to the bad news, the report also adjusted the July numbers down. ADP now says the private sector added 37,000 jobs in July, 5,000 less than the preliminary number released early last month.

However, Wall Street much preferred the report from the Institute for Supply Management, which showed a sharp and unexpected rise in manufacturing production.  The purchasing managers’ index rose to 56.3 in August, from 55.5 in July. Economists had expected it to fall to 52.5.

Market traders were buoyed by that improvement, and, according to TheStreet, weren’t overly dismayed by the ADP numbers. At midday, the market was up more than 200 points on the news as well as on a positive report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas that said “planned job cuts announced by employers in August fell to 34,768, the lowest monthly total in over a decade.”

Although the ADP report rarely matches the numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will be released Friday, it does foreshadow the government’s Labor Situation Summary. The BLS covers all jobs, while the ADP report deals only with the private sector.

For that reason, the best comparison is of the private employer job numbers in both reports. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires expect — on average — the BLS report will show a gain of 28,000 private sector jobs. With the continuing layoff of Census workers and state and local government job losses, the economy is expected to have shed about 110,000 jobs in August.

The economic doldrums are only highlighted by the job advertising report also issued this morning. The Conference Board’s monthly Help-Wanted Online Data Series says employers posted 57,100 fewer jobs in August than they did the month before.

In a press release announcing the August numbers, The Conference Board notes: “The gap between the number of unemployed and advertised vacancies (supply/demand rate) stood at 3.40 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in July (the last available unemployment data) but is down from its peak of 4.73 in October 2009.”

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