Small businesses shed 90,000 jobs in early March, before the worst of the coronavirus economic crunch hit much of America, according to a report from ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
The ADP report showed overall private payrolls falling by just 27,000, far fewer than the 125,000 decline forecast by economists. But the survey was completed by March 12, too early to show many of the job losses that occurred later in the month.
The report showed medium-sized businesses, those with between 50 and 499 employees, adding 7,000 workers. Larger businesses added 56,000.
ADP notes that the March report “does not reflect the full impact of COVID-19 on the overall employment situation” in the month. But since it does cover the same period used in the official employment situation due out from the government Friday, it may indicate that the numbers coming out at the end of the week will be less dire than many expect.
Investors are unlikely to take much reassurance from the better than expected numbers as they likely only beat expectations because of the timing of the survey.