ADP vs. BLS: Whose job numbers should you trust?

Until recently, ADP's private payroll numbers suggested a weaker recovery than the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, they've flipped.

ADP, a private payroll firm, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics have differed for months on the strength of the employment recovery. Now, that gap is closing.

Comparing the private nonfarm payroll estimate from ADP, a national staffing and business services firm, to the BLS results, you can see that while an unusual divergence had shaped up over 2010, ADP appears to be closing the gap as of late.

Initially, ADP had appeared to be indicating a significantly more weak "recovery" than the BLS private non-farm payroll results but with the latest results from ADP coming in so strong, it appears that the two series could eventually trend at a similar pace in the near future.

Looking at the chart you can see that these two series are still quite a bit out of whack with ADP still indicating an increasing annual pace of private non-farm jobs of about half of the BLS rate.

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