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ADP report says U.S. added 176,000 jobs, with small firms leading the way

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Today’s ADP National Employment Report found a growing U.S. economy created about 176,000 private-sector jobs in August, with small firms adding more jobs than very large companies — and New Jersey reflects that national picture, experts said.

According to ADP, of the 176,000 August job gains, 32,000 were at companies with more than 500 employees, while 71,000 jobs came from small firms employing fewer than 50.

Harvey Bass, chief executive of the job placement firm Stascom Technologies, said the ADP report is in line with what he’s seeing.  

“Big companies are still nervous about hiring,” Bass said. “Conversely, small companies that suffered from 2009 to 2011 — now they’ve got some cash, and they’re willing to take a risk. Small companies are more entrepreneurial, and they will take the opportunity and hire.”

Rutgers economist Jim Hughes said the New Jersey job picture has generally reflected the national economic recovery, except for an unusual decline of 6,000 in July that he said may be revised upward when New Jersey’s August job report comes out later this month.

Hughes said it’s not unusual to see considerable month-to-month volatility in the state’s job numbers.

“Job growth does not take place in a smooth even pattern,” but instead often includes spikes and dry spells, he said. “These are thousands and thousands of decisions by people who make hiring choices and by people deciding to accept jobs.”

Bass said companies are willing to hire because business has picked up, “but it’s like a roller coaster. You have one great month, one good month, one bad month, then you go back to a great month. It is difficult, but it is improving — customers are buying, companies are selling goods and services, and business is definitely increasing.”

“What you have in New Jersey is thousands of small companies hiring one, two or three people — and that all adds up to some pretty good numbers,” he said. “The only way a seven-person company can grow is to have 10 people.”

Roseland-based ADP produces the report each month in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics, and it is based on actual payroll data from ADP, a leading provider of payroll services to employers.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, called the jobs picture “steady as she goes.”

“Job gains in August were consistent with increases experienced over the past two-plus years,” he said. “There is little evidence that fiscal austerity and health care reform have had a significant impact on the job market.”

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