Job losses in the U.S. private sector accelerated in March, more than economists' expectations, according to a report by ADP Employer Services on Wednesday.
Private employers cut jobs by a record 742,000 in March versus a 706,000 revised cut in February that was originally reported at 697,000 jobs, said ADP, which has been carrying out the survey since 2001.
The big drop foreshadows a huge decline in the non-farm payroll reading in the government's employment report that will be released on Friday, some analysts said.
It's a terrible number. It is almost a loss of three quarters of a million jobs which is possibly the highest we have seen so far over the length of this crisis, said Matt Esteve, foreign exchange trader with Tempus Consulting in Washington.
U.S. stock futures and the dollar fell after news of the bigger-than-expected job losses, while U.S. Treasury bonds regained some of their lost ground.
Economists had expected 655,000 private-sector job cuts in March in the ADP report, according to a recent Reuters poll.