Private sector employment increased by much less than anticipated in the month of November, according to a report released by payroll processor ADP on Wednesday.
ADP said private sector employment rose by 67,000 jobs in November after climbing by a revised 121,000 jobs in October.
Economists had expected employment to jump by 140,000 jobs compared to the addition of 125,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
"The job market is losing its shine," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "Job openings are declining and if job growth slows any further unemployment will increase."
The weaker than expected job growth came as a continued increase in employment in the service-providing sector was partly offset by a loss of jobs in the good-producing sector.
The service-providing sector added 85,000 jobs, driven by healthcare and professional services, while the goods-producing sector lost 18,000 jobs.
Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said job creation slowed across all company sizes but noted small companies continued to face more pressure than their larger competitors.
The report said employment at small businesses edged up by 11,000 jobs, while large and mid-sized businesses added 27,000 jobs and 29,000 jobs, respectively.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly jobs report, which includes both public and private sector jobs.
Economists expect employment to increase by 180,000 jobs in November after climbing by 128,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 percent.