U.S. private employers added 208,000 jobs in November, falling short of economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 221,000 jobs.
October's private payrolls were revised up to 233,000 from the previously reported 230,000.
Private employers have now added jobs for 57 straight months at an average rate of about 186,000 per month.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
"The labor market continues to make steady progress," Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute, said on a conference call following the data's release.
The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public and private sector employment.
Economists polled by Reuters are looking for total U.S. employment to have grown by 230,000 jobs in November, up from 214,000 in October, with private-sector hiring seen at 218,000 compared with 209,000 the month before. The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at 5.8 percent, its lowest since July 2008.
Breaking the data down by business size and type, growth was led by small companies with fewer than 50 employees and by firms in the services sector.
Small employers added 101,000 jobs compared with about 103,000 in October. Medium firms, with between 50 and 499 workers, expanded their payrolls by 65,000, down from 122,000 the previous month, which had seen the briskest hiring by that sector since February 2007.
The strong pace of small-business hiring, in particular, is "another sign of an economy that is returning to health," Yildirmaz said.
Meanwhile, large firms, with 500 or more workers, added 42,000 after having hired just 7,500 in October, which had been the weakest hiring pace among big companies since January 2013.
Service-providing employers added 176,000 jobs last month compared with about 187,000 in October.
Meanwhile, goods-producing companies added 32,000, down from 46,000 the month before.
And manufacturers hired 11,000 new workers after growing their payrolls by about 13,000 in October.
(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)