Job creation in the private sector was disappointingly slow in May, with companies adding just 179,000 positions, according to the latest reading from ADP and Moody's Analytics.
Economists in a consensus survey expected ADP's national employment report to show the economy created 215,000 private payrolls in May, down from the prior month's 220,000 figure.
The number could cause economists to ratchet down the projections for Friday's nonfarm payrolls report, which is projected to show an addition of 210,000 positions for the month. Capital Economics said in a note that the ADP report "adds to the downside risk" for its forecast of 230,000 jobs created.
Services accounted for most of the jobs, adding 150,000 to the total, while goods-producing employment increased by 29,000. Even in the services sector, though, there was weakness, with new professional and business positions tumbling to 46,000 from 75,000 in April.