U.S. private employers added 187,000 jobs in January compared with a revised gain of 247,000 jobs in December, a report by payrolls processor ADP showed on Wednesday.
The median of estimates from 29 economists surveyed by Reuters for the ADP Employer Services report was for a rise of 145,000 private-sector jobs in January.
The December figure was originally reported as a gain of 297,000 jobs.
The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. government's much more comprehensive labor market report on Friday, which includes both public and private sector employment.
The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms in January rose 20 percent from the previous month to 38,519, but the tally was still the lowest for a January since at least 1993, according to a report released on Wednesday. Noting that January was typically a month of large job cuts, global outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in its report that the January total was the lowest for that month since the company began tracking monthly layoff announcements in 1993.
JOHN CANALLY, INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, LPL FINANCIAL, BOSTON:
People are discounting it because of last month's shocker and a couple of days later, it proved to be wrong. So it lost some credibility last month. That's why you are not seeing much of a reaction. People are going to ignore the number at their peril, probably discounting the wrong month.
It's 12 months in a row that ADP showed job gains. That's the longest stretch since 2006 to 2007. Companies are cut to the bone. You are not going to see any more layoffs. That can have implications in foreclosures and inventories of unsold homes since they are correlated. We are still not seeing that much hiring yet.
The underlying data show the economy is getting better. You don't need to payrolls report to confirm that. In certain sense, it's a Goldilock situation where the economy is growing but not so fast that the Fed is in a hurry to raise rates.
MICHAEL YOSHIKAMI, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST AT YCMNET ADVISORS IN WALNUT CREEK, CALIFORNIA:
Though it was higher than expected, this isn't a game-changer. Until we start seeing job gains above 250,000, these will just be stabilizing reports rather than true indications that the market will meaningfully come back. The economy is still soft and I believe the jobs market will be soft for the next year or two while the economy stabilizes. That said, it does suggest that the jobs momentum is going the right way, and it makes me more optimistic for Friday's payroll report, but it isn't such a blow-out number to allow us to add to gains.
PETER BOOCKVAR, EQUITY STRATEGIST, MILLER TABAK + CO, NEW YORK:
Bottom line, even with the Dec downward revision, the two month average is a solid 217,000 and certainly a positive for economic activity. There was nothing in the press release alluding to the bad weather being a factor in hiring. From a market perspective however, Friday's payroll figure always is more relevant and expectations are for a total non farm gain of 143,000.
DAVID ADER, HEAD OF GOVERNMENT BOND STRATEGY, CRT CAPITAL GROUP, STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT:
A reasonable gain in terms of private hiring, so with a skew to a consensus view to a 3,000 gain in government jobs, this would put overall non-farm payrolls at plus 143,000.
The (Treasuries) market is doing nothing with ADP, and prices are unchanged. Perhaps that's because it doesn't quite know whether to believe it or because it's not far from the consensus for non-farm payrolls. Assuming 187,000 is accurate we would put this in the moderate growth camp and suggest a bearish bias as a result.
MARKET REACTION: STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures were little changed after the ADP data. BONDS: U.S. bond prices pared gains after the data. FOREX: U.S. dollar edged up after data.