After January's 175,000-job jump was revised sharply down to 127,000, analysts had expected February to notch an adjusted 150,000 jobs. Compared to the last few years of the recovery, 2014 is off to a rough start.
Human capital management company ADP partners with Moody's Analytics to produce this monthly report based on ADP payroll data representing 416,000 U.S. clients employing nearly 24 million workers in the U.S.
Small businesses (one-49 workers) proved to be the biggest contributors, adding 59,000 employees to their ranks. Medium (50-499) companies increased employment by 35,000, while large (500+) companies added on 44,000.
The services sector contributed 120,000 new jobs, while goods-producing companies increased just 19,000. Manufacturing added on a measly 1,000.
According to Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, bad weather may have rained on the labor market's parade:
February was another soft month for the job market. Employment was weak across a number of industries. Bad winter weather, especially in mid-month, weighed on payrolls. Job growth is expected to improve with warmer temperatures.
The data suggest that the government's jobs report for February, to be released Friday, will show only modest gains. Economists forecast it will show that employers added 145,000 jobs last month. That is below the average gains of nearly 205,000 jobs a month in the first 11 months of last year.
The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.