New Mexico shed 1,100 jobs in September, a 2.7% drop, according to AGC's analysis of federal labor data. The state's figures buck a national month-to-month job growth trend that saw 26 states adding jobs in September, with Alaska increasing employment in the sector by 6.1%. AGC released the data while also calling for the repeal of the 3% tax-withholding rule. "The impact of this new tax measure on construction contractors will be devastating," said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of AGC. "Contractors will be forced to carry a loss on public works [projects] for months at a time."
U.S. private nonfarm companies shed 39,000 jobs in September, 28,000 of which were in the construction industry, according to the new ADP National Employment Report. The figures are in contrast with mainstream economists' forecast that private sector employment would grow by 20,000 jobs during the period. "Economic growth slowed pretty much in the middle of the year ... and we think the fourth quarter is going to be a quarter of slow economic growth," one economist said.
Job losses at small companies employing 50 or fewer people last month posted their slowest rate of job losses since July 2008. The companies cut just 12,000 jobs nationally in January. Small-business employment in the service sector grew by 16,000, per payroll service ADP, although 28,000 jobs were shed in the goods-producing sector.
The number of job openings in the U.S., including in the manufacturing and professional services sectors, increased in August and September, according to a Labor Department survey. "This rise in manufacturing bodes well for at least a mild recovery in other areas," said Steven Wieting, U.S. economist at Citi Global Markets.
A day after reporting a $119 million fiscal first-quarter loss and plans to cut 1,300 jobs through September, Ashland said it will focus on improving cash flow and integrating Delaware chemical maker Hercules. With divestments of oil refining and gasoline interests and the acquisition of Hercules in November, the company has become one of the top five specialty chemical companies in the U.S.