Private sector job adds decelerate in March

April 1, 2015
ROSELAND, N.J. (4/2/15)--Private sector payrolls expanded by 189,000 in March, the first month since January 2014 that private payroll growth has failed to surpass 200,000, according to numbers from ADP ( April 1).

The deceleration was partly driven by a drop in the goods-producing industry, which only added 5,000 jobs after adding 57,000 over the previous two months.

Construction hiring also slowed to 17,000 adds from 28,000, while manufacturing lost roughly 1,000 jobs, its first loss since January 2014.

But natural resources and mining, subject to lower oil prices, posted the biggest losses of the month.

"A weakened energy sector takes much of the blame since low oil prices take their toll on the entire energy supply chain," said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody's analyst (

Koropeckyj added that Moody's expects the slowdown to be temporary, and that job growth will accelerate once oil prices rebound.

Service providers, meanwhile, reaped the benefits of lower oil prices, gaining 184,000 jobs for the month. Service sector job adds have averaged 187,000 during the first three months of 2015.

Smaller businesses again posted healthy gains during March. Companies with less than 20 workers added 57,000 workers, up from 44,000 in February, while those with 20 to 49 workers added 51,000 jobs.

Midsize companies also saw job adds accelerate during the month to 62,000 from 57,000.

"Hiring in small companies remains resilient, indicative of improved access to credit and strengthening demand and business confidence," Koropeckyj said. "The weakness in goods-producing industries is affecting larger companies, however."