U.S. private payrolls post first decline since 2017

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) – U.S. private payrolls dropped in March for the first time since 2017, likely as businesses shut down in compliance with strict measures by authorities to contain the coronavirus pandemic, supporting economists’ views that the longest employment boom in history ended last month.

The ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed private payrolls fell by 27,000 jobs last month, the first decline since September 2017, after advancing by an unrevised 183,000 in February. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast private payrolls falling by 150,000 jobs in March.

The smaller-than-expected decline was because establishments were surveyed in mid-March, before many states and local governments ordered residents to stay at home unless on essential business. Restaurants, bars and other social-gathering venues also were shuttered to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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