Private sector job creation surged in July to 200,000 as small businesses and services led the way, according to the latest report from ADP and Moody's Analytics.
The report topped analyst expectations of 180,000 and sets the stage for a possibly stronger nonfarm payrolls report number Friday.
Small business, employing fewer than 50 workers, added 82,000, the report showed, outpacing medium-sized (50-499 employees) and large businesses, which respectively added 60,000 and 57,000.
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As has been the case in recent months, most of the positions came from services, which added 177,000. Goods producers added 22,000.
Specifically, professional and business services grew by 49,000, while trade, transportation and utilities hired 45,000. Construction added 22,000, though manufacturing lost 5,000.
Economists expect that nonfarm payrolls grew by 183,000 for the month.
"This is right in line with what we've been getting the last two years," Moody's economist Mark Zandi said on CNBC.
The report also showed June employment gains were better than thought, with the originally reported 188,000 revised up to 198,000.
_ By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him
@JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter.