Hiring remained “steady” last month as U.S. private employers added 176,000 jobs in August, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

That number is just shy of expectations, as economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the payroll giant’s monthly survey would show a gain of 180,000 jobs. July's private payrolls gains were revised a nudge down to 198,000 from the previously reported 200,000. The Labor Department will release its latest jobs data Friday.

Small and medium-sized businesses were behind most of August’s growth, adding 145,000 jobs. And small businesses with fewer than 50 employees added 71,000 jobs – more than twice the amount of jobs created by large companies with more than 500 employees, according to ADP.

The service sector was the big winner in August, creating 165,000 of the new positions. In comparison, companies that produce goods added only 11,000 jobs, which is roughly half the growth rate seen in July.

Looking at small businesses specifically, there was more bad news for manufacturing businesses, as companies with twenty or fewer employees cut 2,000 jobs last month.  

While the pace of job creation in August dipped compared to the gains made in July, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi says it’s a solid pace.

"It is steady as she goes in the job market. Job gains in August were consistent with increases experienced over the past two-plus years. There is little evidence that fiscal austerity and health care reform have had a significant impact on the job market,” he said.

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