Private sector employment increased by 55,000 last month, according to a report by payroll giant ADP.

The monthly payroll report showed that 13,000 jobs were added in May at non-farm small businesses with fewer than 50 workers, while 39,000 jobs were added at midsized businesses with between 50 and 499 employees, and 3,000 new jobs at large businesses with 500 employees or more.

“May’s rise in private employment was the fourth consecutive monthly gain,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors, which compiles the report with ADP. “However, over these four months the increases have averaged a modest 39,000. The slow pace of improvement from February through May is consistent with the pause in the decline of initial unemployment claims that occurred during the winter months.”

The gains came mostly in the service-providing sector, which added 78,000 jobs last month. However, the goods-producing sector lost 23,000 jobs overall, even though the manufacturing industry added 15,000 jobs. The construction industry lost 41,000 jobs.

Small businesses lost 24,000 jobs in the goods-producing sector, but gained 37,000 jobs in the service-providing sector, for a net gain of 13,000 jobs overall.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will be releasing its own monthly report this Friday, which is expected to include job gains from government hiring of U.S. Census takers.

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