U.S. private-sector employers added fewer jobs than expected in August, data from the ADP National Employment Report showed.
About 163,000 jobs were added in August, missing Econoday's consensus estimate of 182,000 jobs.
"Small businesses are struggling the most in this competition, as they increasingly can't fill open positions," Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said.
July's total was revised down to 217,000 from 219,000.
The services sector added 139,000 jobs in August, and the goods-producing sector added 24,000.
Within the services sector, professional and business services drove the increase, adding 38,000 jobs. Education and health services added 31,000 jobs, and leisure and hospitality businesses gained 25,000 jobs.
Within the goods-producing sector, manufacturing added 19,000 jobs and construction added 5,000. Natural resources and mining lost 1,000 jobs.
Employment at medium-sized businesses rose by 111,000. Large businesses added 31,000 jobs, and small businesses added 21,000 jobs.
"Although we saw a small slowdown in job growth, the market remains incredibly dynamic," said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. "Midsized businesses continue to be the engine of growth, adding nearly 70% of all jobs this month, and remain resilient in the current economic climate."