The U.S. private sector job growth slowed down in July but remained at a healthy pace, said a private survey released Wednesday.
U.S. private companies added 218,000 jobs in July, down from 281,000 jobs in the previous month, said the National Employment Report released jointly by Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Moody's Analytics, based on a monthly survey. That marked the fourth straight month of job growth above 200,000, a healthy pace that is enough to reduce the unemployment rate.
"The July employment gain was softer than June, but remains consistent with a steadily improving job market," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, adding that the economy will return to full employment by late 2016 if current trends continue.
In July, small and medium-sized businesses accounted for most of the employment gains, adding 176,000 jobs, while large businesses with over 500 employees added 41,000 jobs, according to the report.
Employment in the service sector rose by 202,000 jobs in July, down from 238,000 in June. Meanwhile, the construction sector added 12,000 jobs and the manufacturing sector gained 3,000 jobs.
The ADP survey studied data from private businesses with more than 23 million workers on payrolls but excludes government job growth. The Labor Department will release its jobs report for July on Friday.
In June, the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs and the unemployment rate declined to 6.1 percent, the lowest level since September 2008.
A separate government report showed Wednesday that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4.0 percent in the second quarter after shrinking 2.1 percent in the first three months this year.
The figure confirmed economists' view that the world's largest economy would strongly bounce back after the severe winter weather ended.