Economic Watch: Employment, Factory Shipments and Orders Post Gains
April 02, 2014
Private sector employment in the U.S. increased by 191,000 jobs from February to March, according to the March ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday.
Goods-producing employment rose by 28,000 jobs in March, slightly faster than an upwardly revised pace of 25,000 in February. Most of the gains came from the construction industry, which added 20,000 jobs over the month, compared to an average of 16,000 during the prior three months. Manufacturers added 5,000 jobs in March, the same as February.
"The job market is coming out from its deep winter slumber. Job gains are consistent with the pace prior to the brutal winter,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “The gains are broad based across industries and business size classes. Even better numbers are likely in coming months as the weather warms.”
Service-providing employment rose by 164,000 jobs in March, an increase from the upwardly revised 153,000 in February. The report indicates that professional/ business services contributed the most to growth in service-providing industries, adding 53,000 jobs, slightly more than the 49,000 in February. Expansion in trade/transportation/utilities grew by 36,000, about equal to the 37,000 jobs added in February. The 5,000 new jobs in financial activities mark the strongest pace of growth in the industry since November 2013.
“Despite the months of waning momentum in hiring ahead of arctic storms, winter weather was blamed for the slowdown over the past three months,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist with the investment firm Sterne Agee. “Of course, if winter weather was to blame for the recent declines and employment growth is poised to return to the 200,000 plus trend seen back in October and November 2013, then wouldn't the market stand to anticipate a much more sizable rebound in March?”
The ADP National Employment Report is a monthly measure of the change in total U.S. nonfarm private employment derived from actual, anonymous payroll data of client companies served by ADP.
Factory Orders and Shipments
A report from the U.S. Commerce Department, also released Wednesday, shows both shipments and new orders for factory produced goods both turned around in February, following two straight monthly drops.
Shipments increased 0.9%, following a 0.7% January decline, while new orders gained 1.6%, following a 1% January drop. Both were pushed higher by significant hikes in the transportation sector.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in February increased 2.2% from the month before, while shipments for manufactured durable goods during the same time gained 0.8%.
Orders for manufactured nondurable goods increased 1% while shipments of them increased by the same level.
American Spending Habits
A new poll show many Americans may be putting thought into where their money has gone in the recent past and where it might be going in the near future. While attitudes haven't changed overwhelmingly since last December, some shifts in plans for the next six months may indicate that Americans are questioning their financial prospects over the next few months.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,234 U.S. adults surveyed online between March 12 and 17.
Americans are more likely than in December to say that they plan on decreasing their spending on eating out at restaurants (59%, up 4 points) within the next six months, along with being less likely they will have more money to spend the way they want (34%, down 4 points) and that they will buy a new computer (23%, down 5 points), when compared to last December.
Americans' attitudes are close to or unchanged from December levels in many areas, including the likelihood that they'll buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van (15%, down 2 points), purchase a house or condo (holding steady at 8%), start a new business (8%, down 2 points) and buy a boat or recreational vehicle (unchanged at 4%).
Compared to five years ago Americans are far less likely to anticipate that the next six months will see them decreasing their spending on eating out at restaurants (59%, down 15 points) and reducing their spending on entertainment (54%, down 20 points) and considerably more likely to expect that they'll have more money to spend the way they want (34%, up 13 points).