Job growth faltered in October, with the private sector adding just 130,000 new positions, according to the latest report from ADP and Moody's Analytics.
Economists expected ADP to show private business created 150,000 new jobs in October. The actual count represented a downward drift from September's number, which was revised lower from 166,000 to 145,000.
Almost all the new jobs were in services, which added 107,000 positions.
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Large businesses, though, set the pace, with 81,000 new jobs in a move atypical of recent months where small firms led. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees added 37,000 jobs, while medium firms came in at just 13,000.
While weak when compared to market expectations, the results likely won't bother investors who want to see the Federal Reserve maintain its easy-money policies.
The Fed had hinted earlier this year that it was close to pulling back, or tapering, on its $85 billion a month bond-buying program. But employment growth that remains weak likely will keep the U.S. central bank policy steady.
The government shutdown in the early part of the month may have played a role, though ADP does not count public sector jobs.
"The reading was light with blame likely falling at the door of Washington politicking," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a note. "The government shutdown amidst budget negotiations prompted companies to await the outcome before making commitments to new workers."
However, the numbers do fit in with the September nonfarm payrolls reading from the government, which showed just 148,000 total new jobs. The softening environment likely will reinforce the market's belief that the Fed will not taper until well into 2014.
—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxCNBCcom.