U.S. businesses added fewer jobs than expected in March, though job creation in prior months was revised higher, data from payrolls firm ADP showed Wednesday.
The number of jobs in the nonfarm private-business sector increased by a seasonally adjusted 209,000, down from a revised 230,000 in February, ADP said.
The March jobs picture was weaker than the average analyst estimate of 217,000 net new positions.
Estimated gains for the prior months were revised sharply higher: for February, by 14,000, and for January, by 9,000 to 182,000.
The payrolls firm highlighted that during the first quarter of the year, the monthly employment gains averaged 207,000 jobs, compared with 156,000 for all of 2011.
"This is a positive development, and I would hope that job growth will be even more robust for the remainder of the year," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive of ADP, in a statement.
The ADP private-sector report came ahead of Friday's March government numbers on job creation, which include the public sector, and unemployment.
Most analysts expect that the economy added a net 230,000 jobs, including 250,000 private payrolls, and the unemployment rate held steady at 8.3% for the third consecutive month.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012