Now, a (hopeful) look at the positive side of employment data.
ADP is short for Automatic Data Processing, which claims (with some probable justification) to be "one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions". Since they manage HR, payroll, and tax and benefits administration for multiple companies, they get a good look at hiring and firing trends of their clients, and this allows them to put together a pretty comprehensive picture of what the employment picture looks like. Think of this report as a test run for Friday's Employment Situation, and you won't be far off.
Last month - April - was decent, but nothing to write home about. ADP reported 179,000 new jobs, 77.09% of which came from the service-providing sector and 22.91% came from the goods-producing sector. 6.14% of the new jobs came from large businesses, 46.92% came from medium-size businesses, and the remaining 49.94% came from small businesses.
And how will May look? According to the May 2011 ADP National Employment Report, nowhere near as good. Nonfarm private business employment rose 38,000, with 126% of that coming from the service-producing sector. The goods-producing sector lost 10,000 jobs. Large business employment fell 19,000, while medium-size business employment increased 30,000 and small business employment rose 27,000.
So, yeah. Friday's not looking good right now.