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The economic outlook's hue got a tinge less rosy after the private sector added slightly fewer jobs in January than forecast. Employers added 175,000 new jobs from December to January, below the 189,000 expected, according to the ADP national employment report released Wednesday.

The report also revised the number of jobs created in December down from 238,000 to 227,000.

"Cold and stormy winter weather continued to weigh on the job numbers," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which helps ADP compile its report. "Underlying job growth, abstracting from the weather, remains sturdy. Gains are broad based across industries and company sizes, the biggest exception being manufacturing, which shed jobs, but that is not expected to continue."

The ADP report is widely considered an early indicator of the official jobs report, which will be released by the Labor Department on Friday. Economists had predicted that report would show the unemployment rate edging down from 6.7% to 6.6%.