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Following yesterday’s ugly JOLTS data, which was so bad it actually sent stocks lower amid fears of a hard landing, moments ago the ADP – always one to surprise with its shocking wrong data, constant revisions notwithstanding – shocked when it printed showing a huge gain for April private payrolls, which more than doubled from a downward revised 142K print in March to 296K in April.

The April number was not only far above the consensus estimate of 148K and also above the highest forecast of 220K, it was also the biggest monthly increase since July 2022.

While job gains were mostly uniform, there was some regional weakness in the South where 100,000 jobs were lost. Additionally, there was a drop in Manufacturing workers (-38,000), as well as Financial activities (-28,000) and Professional Business services (-16,000).

But while the jump in jobs was a hawkish twist ahead of today’s FOMC, especially with JOLTS indicating the labor market was finally cracking, the latest change in wages was clearly dovish, with wage growth for both job changes and stayers sliding to the lowest since 2021, to wit:

  • Job-stayers 6.7%, down from 6.9% in March  and lowest since Dec 21
  • Job-changers 13.2%, down from 14.2% in March and lowest since Nov 2021

As ADP’s Chief Economist Nela Richardson put it, “The slowdown in pay growth gives the clearest signal of what’s going on in the labor market right now,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “Employers are hiring aggressively while holding pay gains in check as workers come off the sidelines. Our data also shows fewer people are switching jobs.”


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