Snowstorms put some hiring on hold in January, according to a report by payroll processing firm ADP.
The private sector added 175,000 jobs in January, marking the weakest month for hiring since August. ADP said 227,000 jobs were added In December.
"Cold and stormy winter weather continued to weigh on the job numbers," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which helps ADP ( compile the report. But he added that underlying job growth still remains "sturdy." )
As usual, most of the job gains came from the services sector. Meanwhile, manufacturers cut 16,000 jobs, according to ADP.
The ADP report comes two days before the government will release the official numbers for job growth and unemployment for January. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect that 178,000 jobs were added last month, up from only 74,000 jobs added in December.
The government report and ADP report are based on different methodologies and don't always match up well. Last month for example, the ADP report painted a picture of strong hiring at the end of the year, whereas the government's report showed hiring slumped to its weakest level in three years.
Many economists think the Labor Department will revise December's data upward, showing that job growth wasn't nearly as weak as originally reported.
Despite the slow start, Zandi still believes 2014 will be a stronger year for the job market than 2013.
"I expect a breakout year," he said, forecasting the economy will average 225,000 jobs created each month in 2014.