Private business job creation decelerated in March as an economic slowdown and other factors put a dent in activity, according to the latest report from ADP.
Companies added 189,000 positions for the month, down from the 214,000 in February, a number that was revised slightly upward from the 212,000 initially reported.
Virtually all the new positions came from the service sector, with the majority of those concentrated in small business. Services added 184,000, with goods-producing responsible for just 5,000, according to the report that ADP puts together in conjunction with Moody's Analytics.
It marked the first time since January 2014 that private firms added fewer than 200,000 jobs.
Officials involved with the report attributed the slowdown to falling energy prices and currency pressures.
"The fallout from the collapse in oil prices and surge in the value of the dollar is hitting the job market," Moody's economist Mark Zandi said in a statement. "Despite the slowdown, underlying job growth remains strong enough to reduce labor market slack."
The report comes two days before the government releases its monthly nonfarm payrolls report. That report is expected to show a gain of 248,000 positions, though economists sometimes tweak that number depending on ADP.