Private payrolls in December unexpectedly declined for the first time since April, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing company ADP.
The company, which estimates employment each month prior to the release of the government’s official payroll estimate on the first Friday of each month, said private payrolls fell by 123,000 in December.
Economists had estimated private payrolls would grow by 100,000, according to Econoday, Other newswires had considerably lower consensus estimates—Dow Jones had the forecast at 60,000—but none foresaw a negative print for the month.
If accurate, ADP’s figures indicate that the U.S. economy has slowed considerably as the pandemic has surged, lockdowns returned, and in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
The ADP estimate has had trouble aligning with the official data since the pandemic struck and the economy began gyrating in unusual and unexpected ways. In many months during the summer rebound, ADP’s numbers severely underestimated