U.S. companies add most workers in seven months, ADP data show

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(Bloomberg) — Companies added more workers than forecast to U.S. payrolls in October, indicating hiring snapped back after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to data released Wednesday from the ADP Research Institute.

Highlights of ADP employment (October)

  • Private payrolls rose by 235k (est. 200k), the biggest gain since March, after revised 110k gain in September
  • Payrolls in goods-producing industries, which include builders and manufacturers, rose 85k; service providers added 150k to payrolls
  • Construction employment jumped by 62k, the most since February 2006
  • Payrolls at business services providers added 109,000, the highest in records to 2002

Key takeaways
The report indicates resilience in the labor market and is consistent with other data that show the economy is recovering from the tropical storms. Employment is expanding as businesses remain optimistic about the outlook, at the same time employers face the challenge of finding skilled workers as the job market is tightening. The ADP results are also a sign that the government will report Friday a rebound in private payrolls for October.

The surge in construction employment probably shows greater demand for labor to rebuild homes and businesses in the hurricane-stricken areas of Texas and Florida.

Economists’ views
“Looking through the hurricane-created volatility, job growth is robust,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP.

“The job market remains healthy and hiring bounced back with one of the best performances we’ve seen all year,” Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said in the statement. “We saw significant growth in professional services, especially in the higher paid professional technical jobs. Additionally, small businesses rebounded well from the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, posting very strong gains."

Other details

  • Factories added 22,000 workers Education and health services took on 39,000 workers, while the leisure and hospitality industry added 45,000
  • Companies employing 500 or more workers increased staffing by 90,000 jobs; payrolls rose by 66,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees; and small companies’ payrolls rose by 79,000
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