Manufacturing employment fell 5,000 from March to April, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report. It was the first drop since September 2011.
Overall employment in the private sector increased by 119,000, with all of the growth coming in the service sector. ADP also revised the estimated gain in jobs from February to March down from 209,000 to 201,000. The ADP report is based on payroll data.
"This month's modest increase of 119,000 jobs appears consistent with the first-quarter Gross Domestic Product growth of 2.2%," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of ADP.
Manufacturing employment rose by 37,000 in March and has risen by 470,000 since the low point of the recession in January 2010.
The U.S. Labor Department will release its April employment data on Friday. Last month, the U.S. unemployment rate was 8.2%.