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August 5, 2021

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US private hiring plunges in July

PRIVATE hiring by American firms slowed sharply in July to 330,000, with dramatically lower gains in the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors, according to payroll services firm ADP.

The result was far smaller than economists had expect­ed and less than half of the 680,000 positions gained in June, which could be a wor­risome sign ahead of the government’s monthly jobs report due out Friday.

“The labor market recovery continues to exhibit uneven progress, but progress none­theless,” ADP chief economist Nela Richardson said.

As pandemic restrictions have eased, allowing busi­nesses like hotels and restaurants to reopen, the hard-hit leisure and hospi­tality sector has been hiring workers at a brisk pace since March, but the ADP report showed a gain of just 139,000 jobs last month.

That is the biggest of any sec­tor by far but less than half of June’s figures.

In recent weeks, rising infec­tions from the fast-spreading Delta variant of Covid-19 have created uncertainty and caused some areas of the United States to again put in place mask-wearing rules.

“The slowdown in the re­covery has also impacted companies of all sizes. Bot­tlenecks in hiring continue to hold back stronger gains, particularly in light of new COVID-19 concerns tied to viral variants,” Richardson said.

In the dominant services sector, hiring slowed in transportation and utilities professions, healthcare and education, while manufactur­ing added just 8,000 jobs and construction 1,000 following four months of double-digit gains.

Economists are projecting employment gains of over 900,000 and as much as a million in the key Labor De­partment report, and although the ADP data is not always in sync with the official figures, the big miss could foretell weak monthly hiring overall.


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