A private survey shows that U.S. businesses added jobs at a modest pace in January, a sign that hiring may have rebounded after a disappointing figure in December.
Payroll processor ADP says companies added 175,000 jobs last month. That's down from 227,000 in December, which was revised lower. But it was much better than the government's official figure of just 74,000 new jobs in December.
The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report. In December its figure came in much higher than the official count.
The report comes amid rising fears of a slowdown in the U.S. and global economies. Those fears have caused sharp falls in stock markets worldwide. Turmoil in developing countries and signs of slower growth in the U.S. have also raised uncertainty about the Federal Reserve's next steps.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which compiles ADP's report, said that cold weather "continued to weigh on the job numbers."
Many economists said bad weather was partly to blame for the sharp fall-off in December hiring. Job gains had averaged 214,000 a month from August through November, nearly three times December's total.
Construction added 25,000 jobs in January, the ADP survey found, slightly below December's total. Manufacturing cut 12,000 jobs.
Small businesses had the biggest gains, adding 75,000 jobs,. while medium businesses added 66,000 and large companies gained 34,000.