According to the ADP report, US private employment grew by 170 000 in January, less than the expected 182 000 gain. The previous figure was downwardly revised from 325 000 to 292 000, which is no surprise as the record jump was probably partly due to seasonal factors and was not confirmed by the official BLS report. Looking at the January details, employment growth remained modest in both small (95 000 from 136 000) and medium size firms (72 000 from 126 000), while large firms added only 3 000 jobs. Also the sector breakdown shows no real surprises. Employment grew by 18 000 in the goods-producing sector (down from 51 000 in December), of which 10 000 in manufacturing and by 152 000 in the services sector (compared to 241 000 in December). Overall the outcome is close to expectations, especially compared with the previous two months, when the ADP report came out significantly stronger than expected and than the official BLS report. Over the previous two months, the correlation between the ADP and official BLS report was weak and therefore there are questions about the reliability of this report. Nevertheless, it might indicate that a payrolls report near expectations.
In January, the US manufacturing ISM extended its rebound. The headline index rose from 53.1 to 54.1, while the consensus was looking for a slightly stronger rebound to 54.5. The consensus was however published before the benchmark revisions (which revised the December reading down) and therefore the slightly weaker outcome was no surprise. Also the details are encouraging as new orders (57.6 from 54.8), backlog of orders (52.5 from 48.0), supplier deliveries (53.6 from 51.5), inventories (49.5 from 45.5), and customer inventories (47.5 from 42.5) and new export orders (55.0 from 53.0) improved. Production (55.7 from 58.9), employment (54.3 from 54.8) and imports (52.5 from 54.0) weakened slightly compared to the previous month. The manufacturing ISM extended its gradual rebound at the start of the year and is now back at the highest level since June 2011, which is an encouraging sign, suggesting that the manufacturing sector is further gathering pace.