PhotoWhile the nation's job-producing machinery is still running well, there's been something of a slowdown that continued into April.

The ADP National Employment Report finds private-sector employment increased by 156,000 jobs last month, following increases of 194,000 and 214,000 in March and February, respectively.

The report, produced by ADP in collaboration with Moody's Analytics is derived from ADP's actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

“Job growth noticeably slowed, with some weakness across most sectors,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. “One month does not make a trend,” he added, “but this bears close watching as the financial market turmoil earlier in the year may have done some damage to business hiring."

Sources of strength

Payrolls for businesses with 49 or fewer employees produced the most jobs by far in April -- 93,000, about the same number as March. Employment at companies with 50-499 employees grew by 39,000 jobs; large companies -- those with 500 or more employees – had 24,000 new hires; companies with 500-999 employees added 15,000 payroll positions; and firms with over 1,000 employees created 9,000 new jobs.

Employment in goods-producing industries dropped by 11,000 jobs. The construction industry added 14,000 jobs, while manufacturing lost 13,000 jobs.

Service-providing companies cranked out 166,000 jobs last month, with professional/business services adding 27,000 employees. Trade/transportation/utilities grew by 25,000 and financial activities added just 4,000 jobs.

"Despite the softest overall monthly jobs added in three years, small businesses remained an engine for job growth in April," said Ahu Yildirmaz, VP and head of the ADP Research Institute. "Smaller businesses are less susceptible to global conditions, such as low commodity prices and the strong dollar, that may have caused larger businesses to ease up on hiring."

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