US businesses put the brakes on hiring in November, adding just 118,000 jobs to the economy, payrolls firm ADP said Wednesday.
ADP said the modest increase was led by the construction, transportation and service industries.
The struggling manufacturing sector was the sole industry that lost jobs in the month: 16,000.
ADP revised downward October's job gains by 1,000, to 157,000.
Marc Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, blamed superstorm Sandy, which battered the Northeast in late October, for wreaking havoc on the job market.
"Abstracting from the storm, the job market turned in a good performance during the month," he said.
The ADP report came ahead of the government's labor market data for November, due Friday.
Most analysts expect the unemployment rate to edge up to 8.0 percent from 7.9 percent in October and a sharp drop in job creation, to 90,000 from the prior month's 171,000 net new jobs.