Private employers added 42,000 jobs in July, compared to a revised gain of 19,000 in June, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
The June figure was originally reported as a gain of 13,000.
The median of estimates from 33 economists surveyed by Reuters for the ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, was for a rise of 40,000 private-sector jobs in July.
The ADP data follow the trend seen over the past few months that the economy continues to grow, but at a sluggish pace. Economic reports over the past couple of days have begun to again overshadow quarterly earnings, which were mostly upbeat and drove stocks higher in July.
People worried about their job situation have cut back on shopping and avoided big purchases like new homes, which has stifled growth across many sectors of the economy. Analysts have said the economy and the stock market could remain stagnant until there are consistent signs of significant job growth.
The ADP report is often used as a gauge for the much more comprehensive monthly employment report issued by the Labor Department, which includes both public and private sector employment.
The government report is due out Friday. It's expected to show private employers added 90,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent in June.
Economists often refer to the ADP report to fine-tune their expectations for the payrolls numbers, though it is not always accurate in predicting the outcome.
Friday’s payrolls report should show modest private sector hiring of 30,000 to 40,000 for July, Macroeconomic Advisers LLC chairman Joel Prakken said.
Prakken was speaking to a teleconference of journalists after the release of the ADP report, which his firm jointly developed.
He characterized the recent months of private sector employment gains as tepid but showing no signs of acceleration.
Prakken added that the data indicated U.S. private sector firing had stopped but strong hiring had not yet begun.