Hiring in the US private sector continued to rise in July as health care and business services firms steadily added new workers, according to payroll data released Wednesday.
The latest employment data from private payrolls firm ADP came the same day as the Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut interest rates to help protect the US economy as global growth slows and risks mount, despite the strong job market.
The better-than-expected result suggested the closely-watched government employment report Friday could likewise show persistent strength in monthly job creation. The two surveys are frequently out of step, however.
The private sector on net added 156,000 new workers this month, surpassing economists' expectations, according to ADP data.
But while private hiring was strong in July, there were signs of encroaching weakness, analysts said.
"Job growth is healthy, but steadily slowing," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which helped produce the report.
"Small businesses are suffering the brunt of the slowdown. Hampering job growth are labor shortages, layoffs at bricks-and-mortar retailers, and fallout from weaker global trade," he said in a statement.
Small businesses shed 18,000 jobs and employment in natural resource and information services also shrank by 11,000 workers collectively.
But these losses were more than offset by strong gains elsewhere, including hospitality, trade and administrative support.
With a small upward revision to June's numbers, the latest data brought average monthly job creation for the past three months to about 105,000 -- a step down from the pace seen since late 2017.