Even so, hiring was broad-based in February across most industries and business sizes.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said one encouraging sign is that small businesses are starting to hire more. Earlier in the economic recovery, which began in June 2009, larger companies with 500 or more employees did most of the hiring. Moody's helps compile the report with ADP.
Small companies with fewer than 50 employees added 77,000 jobs in February. That followed a gain of 123,000 in January for that category, the largest in nearly a year.
The housing recovery is helping drive hiring at smaller firms, Zandi said, such as construction companies, landscaping firms, and plumbers and electricians. Banks are also more willing to lend to small and medium-sized companies compared with several years ago.Medium-sized companies with 50 to 499 workers added 65,000 jobs in February, and large businesses with more than 500 employees added 57,000. Construction firms continued a healthy string of hiring, adding 21,000 positions, the ADP report said. Manufacturers added 9,000 jobs.