Normally, at 8:30 AM on the first Friday of every month brings us the Non-Farm Payrolls report, AKA The Jobs Report.
As a preview to that, the private payrolls company ADP releases their own mini-version of that report on the preceding Wednesday at 8:15 AM. ADP isn’t a perfect analogue for the Non-Farm Payrolls report, since it only covers private sector workers, and the sample size is smaller. Still it’s something people pay attention to, even if it’s commonly mocked because on a month-to-month basis it can be pretty different from the official number.
But this is no normal month. Barring an agreement to open the government before Friday morning, there will be no Non-Farm Payrolls report. That means for labour-market data junkies, this week’s ADP is The Big Show. It’s like if the star athletes or actors go on strike, and they have to bring in the alternates.
This is ADP’s chance to shine. Per Calculated Risk, the official forecast is 175,000, down a hair from 176,00o last month.
And again, while ADP is frequently criticised for not getting the number “right” the truth of the matter is that on any medium timeframe, it basically does get the number right.
Here’s a look at the monthly ADP number (red line) vs. official private payroll number (blue line). Sure they don’t align perfectly each month, but ultimately they’re pretty similar.