Private-sector hiring cooled last month, with employers adding a still-solid 213,000 net new jobs, payroll firm Automatic Data Processing (ADP) said Wednesday.
The figure, which is a closely watched labor-market indicator, was down from an upwardly revised 253,000 the previous month. December’s job gains originally were estimated at 241,000.
Economists had forecast that the ADP report would show that the private sector added 220,000 net new jobs last month.
“Employment posted another solid gain in January, although the pace of growth is slower than in recent months,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in preparing the report.
Falling oil prices have affected job growth, with energy-related businesses scaling back their workforces “while industries benefiting from the lower prices have been slower to increase their hiring,” Zandi said.
Still, he said that he expected the job market to continue to improve this year.
The ADP data come ahead of Friday’s Labor Department report on overall job growth in the private and public sectors.
Economists project that the report will show that the U.S. economy added 230,000 net new jobs in January and that the unemployment rate held steady at 5.6 percent.
The labor-market gains would be a drop-off from December, when the economy added 252,000 net new jobs.
ADP said goods-producing businesses added 31,000 net new jobs in January, down from 47,000 the previous month.
The pace of hiring in the service sector also dropped last month, it said. Those firms added 183,000 net new jobs, compared with 207,000 in December.