NEW YORK - U.S. private employers shed 20,000 jobs in February, fewer than the 60,000 jobs lost in January, a report by a private employment service said on Wednesday.
KEY POINTS: * The January fall was originally reported at 22,000. * The median of estimates from 31 economists surveyed by Reuters for the ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, was for a decline of 20,000 private-sector jobs last month.
DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, 4CAST LTD, NEW YORK:
It was pretty much as the market expected. It is interesting, the text of the ADP report said weather had very little effect on the ADP numbers but they say it could affect the employment report due to differences in the methodology. They said it would not be unreasonable to expect the BLS estimates for February to be less than today's ADP report. So we can't really use this as a reliable guide for the payrolls. But it does suggest that the underlying trend is improving.
PETER JANKOVSKIS, CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, OAKBROOK INVESTMENTS LLC, LISLE, ILLINOIS.
It looks encouraging, probably the best numbers since sometime in 2008, we'll just have to see how much of that translates over to the official numbers at the end of the week.
Revision: We've generally been seeing that in the official numbers probably for the last 4 or 5 months. It's not unusual, we've certainly gone through periods like that in the past. A lot of these numbers that we get, you have to keep in mind that they are not really hard numbers, there is a lot of projection built into them, and if they have not updated their model to match the current environment a little bit better you do see these sort of consistent revisions in one direction.
JIM AWAD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ZEPHYR MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK:
It probably is not a market-moving number, and you'll have to wait for the next jobs report. That basically doesn't give any credence to bulls or bears; because you're losing less but not yet gaining, and bulls are expecting a gain.
ZACH PANDL, ECONOMIST, NOMURA SECURITIES, NEW YORK:
The employment story is about the weather. Everybody is wondering how much weather impact there will be on nonfarm payrolls. Unfortunately this is where some of the differences between the ADP report and nonfarm payrolls come to light.
Given that they're calculated in different ways, we think it's reasonable to expect to a larger decline in nonfarm payroll employment than we saw in the ADP report due to the weather... Quirks of the calculation are going to be particularly important this month.
DAVID WYSS, CHIEF ECONOMIST, STANDARD & POOR'S RATINGS SERVICES, NEW YORK:
We tend not to worry about the downward revision, given the weather conditions. The more salient point is the February number which was pretty much what we were expecting. It should be in line with what we will see in the national number on Friday.
The unemployment rate should pick up to 9.8 percent because we didn't believe the drop last month. We need a gain of 150,000 jobs to hold the unemployment rate steady.
TERRY MORRIS, SENIOR EQUITY MANAGER, NATIONAL PENN INVESTORS TRUST COMPANY, READING, PENNSYLVANIA:
It is better than expected, though still negative. We're still not hiring and so far it looks like the data has had little impact on futures. I guess I see it as a non-event, just more of the same. Its still a decline, and until we start hiring I don't think we're going to see improvement. We still have deterioration, just not at a rate we were expecting.
MARKET REACTION: STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures hold flat BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices hold flat DOLLAR: U.S. dollar rises versus yen