US Private Payrolls Reported The Worst Numbers In The History Of The Report



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Private businesses that like to pay their employees had a pretty, pretty, bad April. Didn’t we all? Private payrolls fell by 20.2M during the economy’s worst month in recent memory, according to a monthly report by ADP. If that sounds bad, it’s because it is. In fact, it’s the worst month since ADP began publishing the report back in 2002.


As bad as it looks, ADP likely lowballed the numbers as well, since it used the week of April 12 as its sample period. Oh good, so this could be a lot worse than we’re expecting…buckle up.

Big businesses (with more than 500 employees) were hit the worst. I wonder if they still got a PPP loan? Those businesses saw around 9M job losses whereas companies with less than 50 workers lost only 6M employees. Small Business Saturday is working, you guys! 

The hospitality, trade, construction, and transportation industries cut the most jobs, unsurprisingly, since none of us have left the house to stay in a hotel in the last 2 months. Those service-related industries lost 16M jobs total.

Speaking of transportation…

Uber and Lyft both announced massive job cuts recently. Uber said on Wednesday that it would be canceling 14% of its employee’s rides, or more than 3.7k worker bees. Last week, Lyft said it was cutting 17% of its workforce, and during its Q1 release yesterday said that its April ridership fell 75%, so that might have had something to do with the layoffs. And keep in mind these numbers don’t include Uber drivers who are definitely, 100%, totally not full-time employees.

The bottom line…

Despite the losses we’ve faced (we, of course meaning large corporations in the US) it could be worse. Wait, what?

While private companies may have seen 20M in job losses, it’s not quite as bad as the 22M that analysts expected. Those analysts, always with a half-empty glass. We’ll get a clearer picture when Labor Department drops its April job report on Friday.

And the “not as bad as we thought” attitude certainly helped Lyft, Despite the drop in ridership, the layoffs, and the $398.1M in losses in Q1, Lyft actually saw share prices climb more than 15% on Wednesday. It’s active rider numbers were up 3% over the same period last year, despite the drop in April. So they were REALLY up before sh*t hit the fan. 

Water Cooler Talking Point(s)

💧 “Want to take a socially distant ride? Just order an UberXL and sit in the fold out third row, you’ll be fine.”(AJ, The Water Coolest HQ)


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The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.