Job growth in the private sector slowed a bit in January as larger companies hired fewer workers than the previous month and manufacturing jobs were flat, according to the latest report from ADP and Moody's Analytics.
Still, the 205,000 new positions was better than estimates from Wall Street economists.
Strong job growth again came from service providers, who were responsible for 192,000 of the total, with financial firms adding a net 19,000 workers for the biggest gain since March 2006. The hiring gains came despite a brutal month in the financial markets, with the S&P 500 off to its worst start since 2009.
Economists expected ADP to report private sector payrolls had increased by 195,000 in January, down from the upwardly revised 267,000 reported a month earlier.
The ADP report serves as a precursor for the closely watched monthly nonfarms payroll report, which is expected to show the economy added 200,000 positions and the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent.