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More gloomy news for job seekers: Private companies created just 119,000 new positions in April, according to a widely watched survey.
The data from ADP, which is often seen as a harbinger for the crucial employment report due out Friday, was well below expectations and a confirmation that the labor market is slowing heading into late spring and early summer.
Economists surveyed by Reuters expected the ADP report to show the private sector created 150,000 jobs in April, down from 158,000 in March.
"Nearly every industry has seen slower growth since the beginning of the year," Moody's economist Mark Zandi said on CNBC. "Smaller businesses are experiencing much weaker growth."
Moody's Analytics conducts the survey in conjunction with ADP.
The report comes two days before the government releases its nonfarm payrolls growth count for April. Economists recently have been nudging down their projections, which is pegged around 150,000 after March's dismal 88,000 reading.
The weakness from the ADP report could cause expectations to dim even further.
March's originally reported 158,000 job gain saw a downward revision to 131,000.
Small businesses accounted for 50,000 of the new positions in April, but Zandi noted that the sector is seeing a slowdown likely attributable to the onset of the Affordable Care Act national healthcare plan.
Companies with more than 50 employees will fall under the umbrella of the plan, also known as Obamacare.
"The data seems to be suggesting healthcare is having an impact," Zandi said.
Services accounted for almost all the job creation, at 113,000, while goods-producing made up the other 6,000, with both numbers representing the slowest growth in seven months. Manufacturing lost 10,000 positions while construction added 15,000.
Trade, transportation and utilities added 29,000 and professional businesses services grew by 20,000.
Wall Street took notice of the survey, with stock market futures turning negative and indicating a lower market open.