By SETH SANDRONSKY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Private-sector employers added 235,000 new hires across the United States in December, according to the December ADP National Employment Report produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with Stanford Digital. Medium and small firms had robust hiring as big companies experienced declining job creation.
“The labor market is strong but fragmented,” said Chief Economist Nela Richardson in a statement, “with hiring varying sharply by industry and establishment size. Business segments that hired aggressively in the first half of 2022 have slowed hiring and, in some cases, cut jobs in the last month of the year.”
ADP’s monthly employment report of more than 25 million U.S. employees delivers a snapshot of the labor market that precedes the Labor Dept.’s employment situation that will be released on Jan. 6. ADP’s report tracks the current month’s total private employment change and weekly job data from the past month, with a pay measure focusing on earnings of nearly 10 million employees over 12 months.
Leisure/hospitality employers, hammered during the beginning of the pandemic, led the way with 123,000 new hires in December. Professional/business services added 52,000 jobs, while education/health services employers had 42,000 new hires.
Turning from the service sector to goods-producing employers, construction firms grew fastest, with 41,000 new hires in December. Meanwhile, manufacturing employers shed 5,000 jobs, and natural resources/mining lost 14,000. Trade/transportation/utilities employers shed 24,000 jobs in December, while financial activities firms lost 12,000 jobs.
By U.S. regions in December, the South had 253,000 new hires, while Midwest employers added 70,000 jobs, and New England payrolls rose 54,000. In contrast, Western employers had 142,000 layoffs.
December’s hiring also varied with the size of the labor force. Small businesses of 1-19 workers had 65,000 new hires, while those with 20-49 employees hired 65,000 workers. Medium-size firms of 50-249 had 191,000 new hires in December, with companies of 250-499 employees adding 32,000 jobs. Large companies of 500-plus employees shed 151,000 jobs last month.
In December, the U.S. economy registered the lowest growth in hourly pay since March 2022. Further, the final month of 2022 also “ushered in the largest decline in pay growth for job stayers in the three-year series history,” according to ADP. “Leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; and information sectors had the sharpest declines in pay gains. Job changers’ pay growth also fell to the lowest level in 10 months.”