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US jobs data disappoints

THE American private sector shed a net 23,000 jobs last month, according to the worse than expected Automatic Data Processing (APD) employment survey published yesterday, days ahead of the non-farm payrolls data tomorrow.

The March figure was only a fraction better than the 24,000 jobs lost in February. The poor figure saw equity indices lose ground yesterday.

However, economists remain optimistic that the wider US non-farm payrolls data will show a positive increase – the first net creation of jobs in the US since December 2007 – although they admit that the forecasts may now be biased lower.

ING’s Rob Carnell said that the two surveys are measuring very different things right now. “The ADP survey is not whipped around by things like the January/February ‘Snowmageddon’, which will have depressed non-farm payrolls figures.”

He added: “Moreover, the ADP survey is private sector only, so will not be affected by all the census employees, which could number 50,000-100,000 this month.”