Private Sector Added 807,000 Jobs in December, Still 4 Million Short of Pre-COVID Levels

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Private sector employment increased by 807,000 jobs from November to December, according to the December ADP National Employment Report, released Wednesday, Jan. 5. The December figures beat analysts’ expectations and were led by the service-providing sector, notably the leisure and hospitality industry.

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“December’s job market strengthened as the fallout from the Delta variant faded and Omicron’s impact had yet to be seen,” Nela Richardson, chief economist for ADP, said in a statement.

“Job gains were broad-based, as goods producers added the strongest reading of the year, while service providers dominated growth. December’s job growth brought the fourth quarter average to 625,000, surpassing the 514,000 average for the year. While job gains eclipsed 6 million in 2021, private sector payrolls are still nearly 4 million jobs short of pre-COVID-19 levels,” Richardson added.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a gain of 375,000 private sector jobs in December, according to MarketWatch, and the addition of jobs was the largest since May 2021, according to ADP data, when it reached 882,000.

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Jeanniey Walden, CMO at DailyPay, told GOBankingRates that ahead of the hotly anticipated Friday jobs report, ADP announced private payroll growth of over 800,000, more than double expectations and 60% more than the prior month.

“Job growth was especially strong in hospitality and leisure where employers have aggressively offered wage raises, bonuses and same-day pay to fill a record amount of open positions,” Walden said.  “These employment gains come less than a month after the highest quit rate in history, demonstrating how companies are increasingly competing with each other to recruit and retain talent. The supply chain crisis may be grabbing the headlines, but the bigger story is how companies are more actively managing their labor supply to drive workforce satisfaction and engagement.”

Indeed, in a sign that The Great Resignation is still far from over, the number of Americans who quit their jobs in November hit a record high, with 4.5 million people leaving their jobs. This follows October’s 4.2 million quits, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report that came out on Jan. 4, as GOBankingRates reported.

 In December, large businesses — those with 500 or more employees — added the most jobs, with  389,000 jobs, followed by medium-sized, which firms added 214,000 jobs and small companies added 204,000 jobs, according to ADP data.

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Service-related professions led with 669,000 new hires, with leisure and hospitality adding 246,000 new positions. This was followed by the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 138,000 jobs.

As for the goods-producing sector, it added 138,000 jobs, led by the manufacturing industry, which rose 74,000 and construction, with 62,000 new jobs.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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