Wednesday, October 4, 2017
As is typical for the first Wednesday in each month, a National Employment Report from national paycheck cutter Automated Data Processing (ADP - Free Report) revealed a negative impact from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in September hiring trends. A total of 135K new private-sector jobs is the lowest since the glaringly low 62K in October 2016, and well under the trailing-12-month average of 218K per.
Small businesses, especially those with under 20 employees, were the hardest hit in September — think Mom & Pop gas stations, for instance — losing 7000 jobs last month, 11K for just those smallest companies. For the second month in a row, the U.S.’s largest firms have tallied the highest number of new jobs: 79K. Medium-sized companies (50-499 employees) brought in 63K last month.
The Goods/Services mix was a little closer than usual: Goods-producing firms saw gains of 48K new private-sector employment, and Services grew by 88K. Typically, Services job growth is at an even greater than 2-to-1 ratio month by month. This would suggest small-company services employment has been most affected by the dual hurricane onslaught in Southeastern Texas and the Florida Gulf Coast in September.
To tie this up with a nice, tidy bow, Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi added credibility to the labor market having been hit by two of the biggest natural disasters in U.S. history. “Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hurt the job market in September,” Zandi is quoted as saying this morning. “Looking through the storms the job market remains sturdy and strong." So that’s the good news — though the loss of humanity is devastating for many as a result of Harvey and Irma, we may chalk them up to a one-time event affecting September (and, by extension, Q3 overall) but nothing necessarily beyond this.
We will focus our attention on the all-encompassing non-farm payroll report due out Friday morning, ahead of the opening bell. Prior to ADP’s 135K total this morning, analysts had been predicting roughly 156K new jobs gains for non-farm payrolls in the month of September, or about the same as was reported for the month of August. Again, these represent a dip below a trailing-12-month average, but most economists aren’t sweating this, as hurricane-related issues look to have been the culprit.
Pepsi Beats on Earnings, Revenues Miss
Q3 earnings season continues its slow trickle this week, with snacks and refreshment giant PepsiCo (PEP - Free Report) posting mixed results in its quarterly earnings report. Earnings of $1.48 per share beat the Sacks consensus by 6 cents, up 4.2% year over year. Quarterly sales, however, posted $16.24 billion, a 1.3% increase year over year but beneath the $16.42 billion expected.
Guidance from Pepsi was also mixed: where EPS guidance was raised 10 cents to $5.23 per share, but full-year organic revenue growth is only expected to rise 2.3% — lower than the 3% previously predicted. The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s stock is trading down more than 1% in today’s pre-market; PEP is up year to date, but down over the past month and trailing 6 months.
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