Courtesy ADP

Automatic Data Processing (ADP), a leading provider of payroll services, has released its April employment report, which it creates each month in association with Moody’s Analytics. According to the duo's calculations, the U.S. economy added a mere 119,000 jobs last month. This disappointing figure comes after March's also disappointing report of 158,000 jobs added to the economy. (To make matters worse, in the April report ADP and Moody's also revised down the March number to 131,000.)

The labor market has been cooling off the past two months. Before March, hiring had picked up over the winter months, with ADP and Moody's initially reporting 198,000 new jobs in February (later revised up to 237,000), 192,000 new jobs in January (later revised down to 177,000), and 215,000 new jobs in December. But March was a disappointment, and April's bad numbers come as no surprise.

Construction, however, had a better month in April. The sector added 15,000 jobs, which was better than the no new net jobs seen in March. Before the March lull, construction had been growing at a better pace: 21,000 jobs added in February, 15,000 in January, and an incredible 39,000 in December. In comparison to the national figures then, construction didn't have that bad a month, so maybe the pickup in the housing market will continue to help this sector grow in the coming months, regardless of how the rest of the economy is faring.

ADP and Moody’s report does not break down the data in as detailed a way as does the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly report (due to be released this Friday, May 3), so the analogous Architecture and Engineering Services category can’t be plumbed for a comparison. (See last month’s federal jobs report story for more.) The category of Professional/Business Services, where architects and engineers would most likely be located, posted 20,000 new jobs, down from the 39,000 added last month. We'll have to wait till Friday to learn more about the trends directly affecting architects.