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ADP’s Employment Report: Rose-colored glasses can’t mask this picture…

The official numbers from the Department of Labor don’t come out until Friday, but here’s a prelude:

Companies in the U.S. private sector shed 23,000 jobs in March, according to the ADP employment report released Wednesday. The report comes two days before the Labor Department reports on nonfarm payroll growth for March. The decline in ADP employment was a surprise. Economists had forecast a gain of 40,000 in March ADP. Economists are also expecting a sizable jump in nonfarm payroll in March. The consensus forecast of Wall Street economists is for an increase of 189,000 in nonfarm payrolls. The ADP report does not include federal workers. Many economists expect a surge in federal workers related to the 2010 Census.

Two factors to watch for (but buried in the fine print) will be 1) the amount of workers who have dropped out of the workforce entirely and 2) the amount of workers hired to conduct the census.  Both will make the employment picture appear rosier than it is.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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