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Ahead of Wall Street

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A continued government shutdown and a weaker-than-expected labor market reading from payroll processor Automatic Data Processing (ADP - Analyst Report) provide the backdrop for today’s action. With Friday’s monthly jobs report from the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics likely delayed due to Washington squabbles, this morning’s ADP report will most likely be the only jobs reading we will get this week.

The ADP report came in weaker than expected, with private sector job gains in September at 166K and a 17K negative revision to the prior month’s number to 159K from 176K. The report showed broad-based gains, with small businesses (less than 50 employees) adding +74K jobs in September. Medium-sized businesses (less than 500 employees) added +28K jobs, while large businesses (1000+ employees) added +64K jobs during the month.

The goods-producing sectors added +19K jobs in September, with Construction and Manufacturing adding 16K and 1K jobs, respectively. Most of the September jobs came from the services-providing sectors, with gains of 147K. The ADP report has been averaging in the 150K to 200K range for quite some time and today’s reading is broadly in-line with that trend, though admittedly towards the lower end of that range.

The U.S. economy was broadly on the softer side in the third quarter, with GDP growth expected to be in the +1.5% vicinity. But momentum has been steadily improving, as Monday’s manufacturing ISM and the downtrend in Jobless Claims in recent weeks shows.

The ongoing congressional impasse isn’t expected to have a material impact on the economy, but a prolonged discord will no doubt be destabilizing. The Fed’s no-Taper decision last month was most likely driven by these concerns. The markets have thus far taken the Washington drama in the stride, but the mood would most likely shift if there is no movement towards some sort of resolution soon enough.

Sheraz Mian
Director of Research

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