By Steve Goldstein MarketWatch
WASHINGTON — The U.S. saw slower jobs growth in November as Hurricane Sandy hurt employment, particularly in the manufacturing sector, a payrolls processing firm estimated Wednesday.
The U.S. added 118,000 private-sector jobs in November, estimated Automatic Data Processing Inc., as 114,000 services jobs were created. That’s slower than the 157,000 jobs created in October, though November’s gains were exactly in line with the MarketWatch-compiled estimate.
ADP said Sandy’s wrath cost the U.S. 86,000 jobs, mostly in the manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries.
In fact, 16,000 manufacturing jobs were lost during the month, though 23,000 construction jobs were added as the U.S. housing industry continues its recovery.
“Abstracting from the storm, the job market turned in a good performance during the month,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement.
“This is especially impressive given the uncertainty created by the presidential election and the fast-approaching fiscal cliff. Businesses appear to be holding firm on their hiring and firing decisions.”
The estimated gain from September to October was revised down slightly from the initial estimate of 158,000, to 157,000.
The ADP data is used by some to estimate Friday’s jobs report from the federal government, which also includes public-sector positions. ADP recently adopted a new methodology, including increasing its sample size, in an attempt to produce a report more similar to the government’s.
Before the ADP report’s release, economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the Labor Department to report 80,000 jobs were created last month.
“This is only the second report to be based on the new methodology, so it is unproven,” said Daniel Silver of JPMorgan.
Another report on employment released Wednesday wasn’t as impressive. The employment component of the Institute for Supply Management’s services index slumped markedly to 50.3 percent, which is only barely above the 50 percent level indicating growth.