Business

Small-Business Hiring Gives Mixed Signals on U.S. Economy

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, chairs the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. (AP photo/Invision for JPMorgan Chase & Co.)
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, chairs the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. (AP photo/Invision for JPMorgan Chase & Co.)

(Bloomberg) – Looking for a read on the U.S. labor market ahead of the April 3 employment report? Hiring at the smallest businesses may not provide the clarity you seek.

Figures released today show accelerating job growth last month, though other indexes still point to sluggishness in hiring at companies with fewer than 20 workers. This indicates a disconnect in the job market: Payrolls for all nonfarm employers rose at the fastest pace since 2001 in the 12 months through February, based on Labor Department data.

Monitoring the smallest companies is important because they accounted for about 23 percent of all nonfarm private jobs created last year, said Ahu Yildirmaz, head of the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey.

Their payroll growth accelerated to almost 57,000 in March, bringing the first-quarter average to about 48,900, according to seasonally adjusted ADP data released today. That compares with about 54,700 in all of 2014.

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