Small companies reduced hiring in April, adding 61000 jobs

Private sector employers added 177,000 jobs in April, according to payroll giant ADP, in a sign that the hiring pace is slowing somewhat from previous year.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody?s Analytics, said job growth slowed in April due to a pullback in construction and retail jobs, which continue their retreat. ADP, which jointly developed its employment report with Moody's Analytics, said private employers face increasing difficulty finding qualified workers in a tightening labor market.

ADP compiles its monthly small business report from data provided by its customers with one to 49 employees.

The private group's data on company hiring adds some colour to Federal Reserve officials' discussions on the labour market on Wednesday as they close out their two-day meeting in Washington.

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The Roseland-based payroll and human resources company said overall US nonfarm private employment grew at a slower pace than in the first quarter of the year. Leisure/hospitality added 35,000 jobs.

Goods-producing firms added 12,000 payroll positions, with 11,000 hires in manufacturing and 3,000 in natural resources/mining.

Zandi went on to suggest the weak GDP figure from last Friday - eliciting much of the same worry the weak BLS jobs number did - has measurement issues that bias its figures lower, not accounting for economic activity that doesn't immediately come out in jobs numbers.

"Looking across company sizes, midsized businesses showed persistent growth for the past six months", Yildirmaz said.

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"The softness in construction is continued payback from outsized growth during the mild winter", he said.

Economists had expected the April figure to be 175,000.

The big change in April's ADP data came from construction companies, which reduced their payrolls by 2,000. Brick-and-mortar retailers also cut jobs in response to stiff competition from online merchants like Amazon.

The unemployment rate is expected to have ticked up to 4.6 percent in April.

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