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Another disappointing jobs report shows hiring at slowest crawl since September

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Private employers added 119,000 jobs in April, the slowest pace of expansion since September 2012, according to the monthly national employment report released today by Automatic Data Processing, in Roseland.

“The report was a little weaker than I anticipated,” said Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick, of Roseland. “I thought for sure the data for April would be stronger than March.”

Adding to the bad news was the March report, which reported job gains of 158,000, being revised downward to 131,000 jobs.

Small businesses with less than 50 employees led the way in April, adding 50,000 jobs, followed by large businesses adding 43,000 positions. Midsized companies, those with 50-499 employees, added 26,000 jobs in April.

The service-providing sector increased by 113,000, the weakest pace of growth in seven months, while manufacturing shed 10,000 jobs in April, the first decline in three months and the largest since September 2012.

O’Keefe said increases and decreases in each of the economic sectors are not large enough to determine if they are statistically significant, especially when the numbers are seasonally adjusted. But on its face, he sees the report as reason for concern.

“The past few years, after a strong start to the year, the economy — particularly the labor market — has decelerated in the spring and into the summer,” O’Keefe said. “We may be seeing a replay of that slowdown, which means the current levels of unemployment will remain elevated certainly into autumn.”

ADP report showed companies with less than 20 employees added 34,000 jobs, 26,000 of which were in the service industry and 8,000 in the goods-producing sector. Companies with 20-49 employees added 17,000 jobs. Of those, 16,000 were service providers and 1,000 goods-providing positions.

The sample used to develop the report was derived from ADP payroll data, which represents 416,000 U.S. clients employing nearly 24 million Americans.

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