US adds 158,000 jobs in Oct, but lay-offs up sharply – reports

01 November 2012 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US added 158,000 jobs in October, a major payroll management firm said on Thursday – the highest level of private sector hiring since February – but another report showed a sharp rise in lay-offs as well last month.

In its monthly report on payrolls across the country, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) said the job gains in October were strongest in professional and business services – with other, smaller advances in transportation, utilities and construction.

However, there were job losses in manufacturing industries, ADP said.

The report indicates that US private sector hiring has returned to the minimum level needed – 150,000 monthly – to accommodate young workers entering the jobs market for the first time.

The ADP monthly hiring figure had not been at or above 150,000 since February, and more recently had declined to as low as 82,000 new hires in August and 114,000 in September.

To make any serious inroads in lowering the US national unemployment rate of 7.8%, economists say the country needs to generate 300,000-350,000 jobs/month for multiple quarters.

ADP processes employee payrolls for thousands of US companies.

Separately, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (CGC) said on Thursday that planned lay-offs by US employers rose by 41% in October from September to 47,724 job cuts, the highest level in five months.

In its report, CGC said the sudden upturn in lay-offs could be attributed to company downsizing moves in the wake of poor third-quarter earnings reports.

October’s lay-offs also were 12% higher than in the same month of 2011.

However, CGC noted, the level of private-sector job reductions for the first 10 months of this year is 17% lower than the same period of 2011.

The ADP and CGC employment reports come the day before the US Labor Department is to issue its official national jobs report for October.

In its most recent employment report, the department said on 5 October that the US added only 114,000 jobs in September, although the unemployment rate fell to 7.8% from August’s 8.1% level.

However, that jobless rate decline was attributed chiefly to nearly 400,000 workers who had given up looking for employment, consequently reducing the number of unemployed as a percentage of the workforce.

US central bank officials also have expressed concern over the stubbornly high US jobless rate.

By: Joe Kamalick
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