Private payrolls rise by 374,000 in August, sharply missing estimate

U.S. private-sector hiring rose much less than expected last month as a resurgence in new COVID-19 infections stunted job gains. 

The U.S. economy added 374,000 private-sector jobs in August, a modest increase from the downwardly revised 326,000 jobs added in July, according to the ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had expected the addition of 613,000 jobs. 

"The Delta variant of COVID-19 appears to have dented the job market recover," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. "Job growth remains strong, but well off the pace of recent months." 

Also potentially impacting job growth was the start of the Child Tax Credit, which sent up to $1,800 per child per month to about 36 million American families. Economists are still assessing the impact the payments have had on the labor market.  


Service-sector hiring accelerated last month with the addition of 329,000 jobs, up from 318,000 in July. Within services, leisure and hospitality continued to lead the job gains, adding 201,000 new workers, up from last month's 139,000 new hires. Education and health services (+59,000), professional and business services (+19,000) and trade, transportation and utilities (+18,000) all saw a slowdown in hiring. 

The goods-producing sector gained 45,000 new workers last month, led by construction (+30,000). In July, goods producers added 12,000 new jobs. 

Job gains were pretty evenly distributed across small- (+86,000), medium- (+149,000) and large-sized (+138,000) businesses.

The ADP report comes ahead of Friday's August nonfarm payrolls report. The Labor Department is expected to say the U.S. economy added 720,000 jobs last month, according to economists surveyed by Refinitiv. The economy gained 943,000 jobs in July.