The report by ADP Employer Services is closely tracked by economists and markets, and comes ahead of a report by the Labor Department scheduled for release on Friday.
"This number is disappointing and maybe even a little disconcerting," Joel Prakken, chairman of St. Louis-based Macroeconomic Advisers, which produces the report with ADP, said today during a conference call with reporters. "The weakness was pretty much across the board. Employment is going to be lethargic through the second half of the year."
Prakken said he expects Friday's report from Labor to show an overall loss in jobs.
The ADP report only counts private sector employment, while Labor’s report also factors in hiring by federal, state and local governments. A continued loss of temporary jobs filled by the 2010 Census means the Friday report from Labor will probably show a net loss of jobs, Prakken said.
The ADP report said the decline in private sector hiring in August “confirms a pause in the recovery” already evident from other economic data.
The report also included a revised figure for private hiring from June to July. It estimated private hiring jumped by 37,000 from June to July, rather than the 42,000 it initially projected.
The decline in hiring reflected in the ADP report for August followed six months of increases, with an average monthly gain in employment of 37,000.