Private Sector Jobs Up 32,000; Hiring Likely to be Slow

The private sector added 32,000 jobs from March to April while the number of jobs US employees plan to cut fell dramatically, according to separate reports Wednesday.

Unemployment Line

The ADP National Employment Report showed that employment has increased for three straight months.

The report serves as a precursor to the government's nonfarm employment report due Friday.

Service sector jobs contributed the most, with 50,000 gained. The goods-producing sector lost 18,000 jobs while small business also lagged, producing just 1,000 new jobs for the month, ADP said.

Overall, the job additions may not be enough to satisfy the markets. Stock index futures added to losses after the report while prices of US Treasurys gained.

Meanwhile, the number of planned job cuts announced by American employers fell sharply in April to 38,326, 43 percent fewer than the 67,611 layoffs the previous month, according to global outplacement consultancy company Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported Wednesday.

For 2010, the number of announced layoffs is 69 percent fewer than during the first four months of 2009.

At the current pace of an average of 54,877 job cuts per month, annual job cuts could end the year below 700,000 for the first time since 2000.

Hiring is also likely to to increase in the coming months, but many companies are stubbornly slow to add employees, CEO John A. Challenger said in a statement.

Employers "will first do what they can to maximize the productivity of existing employees through measures such as upgrading technology and expanding the hours of part-time workers,” Challenger said.

Public sector and non-profit employment also continues to struggle, according to the survey.

Challenger: April Job Cuts Down 71%

“State and local governments are under immense budgetary pressure resulting from a lethal combination of higher costs and shrinking tax revenue," Challenger said.

Economists are forecasting an increase in nonfarm payrolls of about 185,000 when the Labor Department reports the April unemployment numbers Friday, higher than the 162,000 added in March.

If the estimate proves correct, it would reflect the biggest gain in three years.

But much of the increase in April is likely to come from temporary hiring for the US decennial census. Excluding the projected 105,000 Census workers hired in April, payrolls will have risen by 80,000.

Unemployment is expected to remain at an elevated 9.7 percent.