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ADP National Employment Report Celebrates 10 Years

Over the past decade, the U.S. labor market has undergone a variety of changes. We’ve endured a historic recession followed by nearly seven years of recovery and expansion. It has taken 10 years for the labor market to attain full employment again.

For the last five years, average monthly job growth has been just about 200K. There’s evidence that wage growth is picking up, consistent with the idea that we’re getting pretty close to full employment.

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the ADP National Employment Report®, an essential tool measuring the monthly change in U.S. nonfarm private employment which is distributed free to the public. Since its inception in 2006, the NER has informed the conversation around the economy, become a critical indicator of private sector labor market activity and emerged as a reliable predictor of the government’s jobs report. Using actual, anonymous payroll information of 24 million Americans, ADP is able to draw conclusions about the workforce based on real numbers, not survey data. Below is a short video commemorating the NER’s 10 years:

The NER has tracked major shifts in the job market over the past ten years. Most notably, we’ve seen:

  • A return to full employment
  • As of this month, 27 quarters of economic expansion – the longest period of expansion since the 1990s
  • Regional job growth shifting away from the Northeast and Midwest and toward the South and West
  • Small companies that survived the recession faring better in the labor marketing than larger ones
  • Service sector growth, while jobs in manufacturing and goods-producing industries have declined

In providing theses insights, the NER has proven to be an increasingly reliable indicator of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) job report. Differences between the NER and BLS may stem from our different approaches. The BLS counts employees when they are paid, whereas ADP counts employees listed as active on an employer’s payroll. But since October 2012, the NER cumulative increase in private-sector jobs has totaled 8.33 million jobs, compared to the BLS estimate of 8.42 million – a 1 percent difference compared to the government’s number.

The NER inspired what has now become a massive platform for deeper, more accurate research into the national and now global economy. In 2012, we created the ADP Research Institute® (ADPRI) to provide structure to our data-driven research capabilities. ADPRI turns data into valuable insights, leading businesses and decision-makers to informed choices and actions. Moving beyond reporting solely on jobs, in 2014 ADPRI launched the ADP Workforce Vitality Report – a quarterly measure that looks at workforce dynamics and indicators such as wage growth, hours worked and turnover rate.

Here at ADP, we know big data. We’re the company that pays 1 in 6 U.S. workers – we’ve been the leader in “big data” since before it was even a term.

We also know that with big data comes great responsibility. That’s why ADP is constantly improving and enhancing the NER, providing more industry-specific calculations. In October, we’ll expand our reporting to include several new sectors, including health care and education. We’ve also expanded our employment reports globally. Last year, we introduced the France National Employment Report, and we have plans to launch in more global markets later this year.

This anniversary comes at a crucial point in time. Will we continue to see economic expansion? How will U.S. economic growth compare with that of other countries? Which sectors will add jobs – and which will lose them? Whatever the next ten years have in store, we will be there to analyze the data and help paint the picture of U.S. economic performance.

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