The first U.S. labor market data of 2018 has hit the tape before the opening bell this morning, with the ADP ADP private sector payroll read for December reaching 250K new jobs. This is well beyond the 195K analysts were expecting. November's tally was revised down, but only a tad: -5K to 185K. We remain consistent with a very strong employment environment.
Unsurprisingly, Services easily outpaced Goods-producing jobs - 222K to 28K, respectively. Medium-sized businesses (50-499 employees) brought in the most jobs at 100K, followed by 96K from Small companies, with Large corporations picking up the rear with 56K. Likely we're seeing a lot of seasonal employment in these numbers from December's holiday shopping season, but even still: strength all around.
Education/Healthcare grew by 50K new jobs, followed by Trade/Transportation at 45K and Leisure/Hospitality at 28K. Even the long-dormant Construction and Manufacturing brought in relatively healthy numbers with 16K and 9K, respectively.
Looking at holiday shopping totals, we see stronger-than-expected results from both Macy's M , up 1.1% in holiday sales comps, and J.C. Penney JCP , up 3.4%. For both companies, these sorts of positive comps are rare, and with new tax cuts for the big-box retailers, both are cranking up earnings estimates for next fiscal year.
Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA reported top- and bottom-line beats on its Q1 2018 estimates in today's pre-market, as well. Earnings topped expectations by a penny to $1.28 per share, up 16.4% year over year. Revenues grew to $30.74 billion, hotter than the $30.33 billion anticipated and up 7.9% year over year. For more on WBA's earnings, click here.
Finally, fresh Initial Jobless Claims numbers hit the early-morning tape today, and these numbers were higher than expected: +250K new claims were up 3,000 from the previous week's slightly upwardly revised total of 245K. This is at the top of our non-hurricane-related jobless claims range we've seen over the past dozen quarters or more. Continuing claims, however, fell lower again from 1.951 million two weeks ago to 1.914 million last week. We remain under the psychologically satisfying 2 million jobless claims figure.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA): Free Stock Analysis Report Macy's Inc (M): Free Stock Analysis Report J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding Company (JCP): Free Stock Analysis Report Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research