Companies added 178,000 jobs in July on a surge in service-related occupations and despite a decrease in manufacturing jobs, according to a report Wednesday from ADP and Moody's Analytics.
The number was just shy of Wall Street expectations of 185,000.
As the economy inches closer to full employment, the report showed that job growth continues but is slowing somewhat. The July count was the second-lowest of 2017.
"The American job machine continues to operate in high gear," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said in a statement. "Job gains are broad-based across industries and company sizes, with only manufacturers reducing their payrolls. At this pace of job growth, unemployment will continue to quickly decline."
In addition to the job growth for July, the June number was revised sharply higher, going from the initially reported 158,000 all the way up to 191,000.
Service-oriented industries — a broad category that includes most everything but mining, manufacturing and construction — swelled by 174,000, with professional and business services contributing 65,000.
Education and health services added 43,000, the trade/transportation/utilities sector grew by 24,000 and leisure and hospitality rose 15,000.
On the goods-producing side, construction increased by 6,000 and mining grew 3,000, but manufacturing positions declined by 4,000.
By business size, companies with between 50 and 499 employees led with 83,000, with small business at 50,000 and large businesses up 45,000.
The numbers come two days ahead of the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report the government issues each month. Economists are expecting the report to show total job growth of 180,000, with the unemployment notching down to 4.3 percent, according to FactSet.
However, wages have been the bigger story, with hourly earnings growth stuck at around 2.5 percent.