It marked the slowest employment increase in 18 months, according to Ahu Yildirmaz, the vice president of the ADP Research Institute.
“Although some service sectors showed continued strength, we saw weakness in the goods producing sector," she said in a statement.
Stocks continued their premarket gains following the release of the report.
It's likely reflective of a weakening job market, Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said, as employment gains slow across most industries and companies. Although the goods-producing sector lost 6,000 jobs, the service-providing sector added 135,000.
"If employment growth weakens much further," he said, "unemployment will begin to rise."
In February, the private sector added 183,000 jobs, slightly less than the anticipated 189,000.
The results precede the release on Friday by the Labor Department of the highly anticipated jobs report, which will provide further insight into whether the nation’s economy is slowing. The U.S. economy is expected to have added 180,000 jobs, on the heels of a measly month for job creation. In February, the public sector added a disappointing 20,000 jobs.