The US labor market has returned to pre-pandemic hiring trends, according to the ADP National Employment Report, produced in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab.

Private sector employment increased by 164,000 Jobs in December and annual pay levels increased by 5.4%, according to the report.

Small businesses chipped in with 74,000 in job gains. Establishments of 1-19 employees gained 54,000 jobs and establishments of 20-49 employees gained 20,000 jobs.

Medium establishments gained 53,000 jobs, with the bulk of the gains in businesses from 50-249 employees. Large establishments with more than 500 employees gained 50,000 jobs. Job losses were only seen in medium establishments with 250-499 employees, where 5,000 jobs were lost.

“We’re returning to a labor market that’s very much aligned with pre-pandemic hiring,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “While wages didn’t drive the recent bout of inflation, now that pay growth has retreated, any risk of a wage-price spiral has all but disappeared.”


Richardson said that a consistent deceleration in pay growth began in September 2022 and continued through 2023.

Getting specific, Richardson said that for employees who stayed at the same job, the pay growth decreased from about 7% to 5.4%. Job changers had seen a higher percentage of pay growth, averaging about 14% at the beginning of that time period, but currently seeing an 8% pay increase when changing jobs.

ADP Jobs Report – December 2023 Highlights

Job gains rose for the fourth straight month, led by a healthy bump in leisure and hospitality hiring. Richardson described the leisure and hospitality sector as “a small business strength” and said that gains there, including the December rebound, have driven the economy’s recovery.

Construction held strong in the face of high interest rates, but manufacturing continued to struggle, notching another month of losses.

Construction is “a supply story,” Richardson said. The construction sector gained 24,000 jobs in December.

“The industry is hanging on a thread of inventory,” Richardson said. “It’s (the job gains) a good sign going into 2024.”


  • Change in U.S. Private Employment:     164,000

Change by Industry Sector

  • Goods-producing: +9,000
    • Natural resources/mining -2,000
    • Construction +24,000
    • Manufacturing -13,000
  • Service-providing: +155,000
    • Trade/transportation/utilities 15,000
    • Information -2,000
    • Financial activities 18,000
    • Professional/business services 1,000
    • Education/health services 42,000
    • Leisure/hospitality 59,000
    • Other services 22,000

Image: Envato

This article, “Labor Market Returning to Pre-Pandemic Hiring Trends, ADP Reports” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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