No Hiring Surge Yet: Private Sector Shed 23,000 Jobs in March

The private sector lost roughly 23,000 jobs in March, a slightly smaller decline than the 24,000 nonfarm jobs lost last month, according to the ADP employment report released on Wednesday. (The February loss was revised up from 20,000 jobs.)

The drop represents the most modest loss of jobs lost since employment started falling in February 2008, but it's still a disappointing figure given that economists expected the private sector to add 40,000 jobs during the month. Some estimates were even more bullish -- ranging from 80,000 to 130,000 new jobs created in March.

The number could indicate that private-sector job creation isn't in our immediate future, but there's also some hope that ADP data may lag the economy.

The good news? The service-providing sector added roughly 28,000 jobs. The bad news? It wasn't enough to offset the job losses in manufacturing or construction. (The goods-producing sector lost 51,000 jobs during the month while the manufacturing sector lost 9,000 jobs, according to ADP.)

A Discouraging Report from Europe

The report, an estimate of nonfarm private employment, is seen as a preview to the government jobs report, which is due out on Friday. ADP compiles it using data from approximately 500,000 businesses' payrolls.

There was similarly discouraging news from across the pond, where the unemployment rate in the eurozone -- which encompasses 16 European nations -- hit 10% for the first time since the euro was introduced, up from January's rate of 9.6%. Unemployment in Spain hit an astronomical 19%, while Germany's unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped.

While there may be a correlation between the ADP employment report and the government jobs report, this month may be unusual: The ADP report did not include federal census workers, while the government report will, and by some estimates, the Census Bureau hired 150,000 to 200,000 workers in March.

Before the markets opened, stock futures slipped slightly following the release of the ADP report.

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