A closely watched measure of private employment in the United States showed hiring slowed in January, suggesting unseasonably frigid weather is temporarily sapping some of the heat from the country’s economic recovery.
Backroom service provider ADP’s latest analysis of the labour market determined private employers added 175,000 jobs last month after creating more than 200,000 positions in each of the final three months of 2013.
The consensus estimate on Wall Street was 185,000. Most market participants likely will greet the slight miss with relief, however, as any indication that the U.S. recovery is spinning off track would have roiled already volatile financial markets.
“We can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for today,” Andrew Grantham of CIBC World Markets wrote in an e-mail to clients.
ADP noted that the 175,000 gain in January was in line with the average monthly increases in 2013. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which crunches the data for ADP, said in a press release that “underlying job growth, abstracting from weather, remains sturdy.”
The ADP report is a rough guide for the Labor Department’s monthly surveys of hiring. Last month, ADP failed to foreshadow a disappointing plunge in job creation at the end of 2013. The Labor Department will release its January numbers of Friday.
Construction employment held up reasonably well in January, as contractors and other employers in the industry added 25,000 jobs despite that cold. That compared with gains of 30,000 in December and 32,000 in November.
Most of the hiring in January was in services, according to ADP; companies added 166,000 jobs compared with 177,000 in December. Factories reduced employment by 12,000 after an increase of 16,000 the previous month, ADP said.