Small businesses, those with fewer than 50 employees, added the largest share, with employment gaining by 148,000. Medium-sized businesses, those with 50-499 workers, added 140,000 jobs, ADP said Thursday.
Larger businesses added 37,000 jobs in the month.
Reflecting that breakdown, goods-producing businesses added 52,000 jobs, while service-providing businesses added 273,000 jobs.
The New York Times in a recent article said 40 percent of the jobs added to the economy since June 2009 -- the official end to the recession -- were low-paying, typically in hospitality and retail. The large number of jobs added in service work appears to bear this out.
For the month, manufacturing added 22,000 jobs, ADP said.
"December's advance was the largest monthly gain since December 2010, reflecting strong job creation across most industries," ADP President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Rodriguez said in a statement.