Job Declines Slow in November, Says Payroll Firm ADP

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

While there's not a frenzy of hiring going on as we reach what many believe may be the end of a long recession, there may be reason to celebrate on the job front, says payroll and HR outsourcing firm ADP. That's because the job declines have slowed each month for the last eight months, pointing to a potential stabilization in the employment picture.

When is bad news really good news?  These days it’s when the news is less bad than it’s been.

For example, in recent months public technology companies announcing their quarterly revenues have celebrated smaller declines, saying they hint at a slowing down of the free fall of this 2009 recession.

And now ADP, the payroll and HR outsourcing firm, and economists are doing the same with declining employment numbers.

Taking the-glass-is-half-full perspective, ADP representatives were quick to point out that November marked the eighth consecutive month in which employment has gradually improved—as measured by fewer jobs shed.

Indeed, just 169,000 jobs were lost in November 2009 compared with 203,000 in October, according to ADP. Economists point out that employment trends typically don’t improve at the same time as other economic indicators.

"Although overall economic activity is stabilizing, employment usually trails economic activity, so it is likely to decline for at least a few more months," said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which helps ADP analyze the data.

Other data from the ADP Report include the following:

  • Nonfarm private employment in the service-providing sector fell by 81,000
  • Employment in the goods-producing sector declined by 88,000
  • Employment in the manufacturing sector dropped by 44,000—the smallest decline since May 2008
  • Large business (more than 500 workers) saw employment decline by 44,000
  • Medium-size business (50 to 499 workers) saw employment fall by 57,000
  • Small businesses (less than 50 workers) saw employment fall by 68,000

ADP reports that November construction employment dropped 44,000, the sector’s 34th consecutive monthly decline, bringing the total decline in construction jobs since its peak in January 2007 to 1,721,000.

In the financial services sector, employment dropped 17,000, marking the 24th consecutive monthly decline.

On the small business side, ADP reports that the goods-producing sector lost 36,000 jobs and the service-providing sector lost 32,000 jobs.

However, ADP notes that November’s job decline among small businesses was the smallest since June 2008.

"Overall economic activity is stabilizing and employment losses among small-size businesses are diminishing," said Prakken.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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