Private employers added a seasonally adjusted 187,000 workers in January, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday. That's less than the 247,000-job increase in December, but hiring last month occurred in most major industries and across all sizes of business, the report said.
"The recent pattern of rising employment gains since the middle of last year appears to be intact," ADP said.
Most of the hiring in January occurred in the service sector, which added 166,000 jobs — the 12th consecutive month of increases. Employment in the goods-producing sector grew by 21,000, the third straight monthly gain, the report said.
With the housing market still weak, construction employment dropped 1,000, bringing the total loss in construction jobs to 2.3 million since the peak in January 2007, ADP said.
The financial services sector added 3,000 jobs last month.
The ADP report comes ahead of Friday's official employment report, which includes both the private and government sectors.
Economists expect the Labor Department report to show that nonfarm payrolls grew by 145,000 in January and that the unemployment rate inched up to 9.5 percent from December's 9.4 percent.