The U.S. economy added 156,000 private, non-farm jobs in April, according to the latest monthly employment report released today by payroll management firm ADP and its partner Moody’s Analytics. Nearly 60 percent of the payroll additions came from businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The seasonally adjusted employment gains reported for April are the lowest in the past 12 months and bear close watching, but there's no sign of fundamental change in the labor market, said Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi in a conference call this morning.

“Historically, GDP growth tends to lead employment,” Zandi said. "It's possible that, given the slowdown in the GDP output, we could see some slowing [in employment]. The turmoil in financial markets ... could also have some impact on the thinking of senior managers of companies in terms of potential hiring and investment."

Construction added 14,000 jobs in April, down from an upward-revised 18,000 in March. Manufacturing lost 13,000 jobs last month, following a downward-adjusted loss of 3,000 in March. And the professional and business services category—which includes architecture and engineering firms—dipped slightly from March with the addition of 27,000 jobs in April.


While the April employment figure appears soft, it's not enough to set the economy back. "My view remains that the U.S. economy will be at full employment by late summer, probably in July, August, September, or somewhere in that period," Zandi said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its employment report on Friday, which will provide more details on job growth in the architecture, engineering, and construction sectors.