July 31 (UPI) -- U.S. companies added 156,000 jobs for the month of July -- a figure that tops expectations despite increased job cuts in the retail sector, ADP and Moody's Analytics reported Wednesday.
The monthly report by ADP and Moody's Analytics said the U.S. economy added 44,000 more jobs in July than it did in for June. Growth in private payroll has slowed in recent months after seeing monthly gains of 200,000 or more during the past 12 months.
Companies with more than 500 workers added 78,000 new jobs and medium-sized businesses added 67,000. Construction added 15,000 jobs and manufacturing 1,000.
The analysis said small businesses with fewer than 50 employees added 11,000 new positions, only one month after the small business sector lost 23,000 jobs. Natural resources and mining declined lost 6,000 jobs and information-related companies shed 5,000.
"Job growth is healthy, but steadily slowing," Moody's Chief Economist Mark Zandi said in a statement. "Small businesses are suffering the brunt of the slowdown. Hampering job growth are labor shortages, layoffs at brick-and-mortar retailers and fallout from weaker global trade."
The ADP-Moody's report provides a preliminary labor snapshot before official figures from the Labor Department, which releases its July figures on Friday. Experts project it will show 165,000 new jobs and unemployment fall to a 50-year low of 3.6 percent.