Private sector employment increased by 166,000 jobs from August to September, according to the this month's national employment report from payroll and business outsourcing giant ADP. The company distributes the report, which is produced in collaboration with Moody's Analytics, to the public monthly free of charge.

Small businesses (less than 50 employees) made up most of the month-to-month gain, adding 74,000 jobs. In particular, the smallest businesses — those with under 20 employees — added the majority within that group, with a 46,000-job increase between August and September. Large businesses (500 employees and over) added 64,000 jobs, and medium-sized businesses tacked on another 28,000 workers.

Goods producing employment rose by 19,000 jobs in September, a slight increase over its August growth rate. Construction payrolls added 16,000 jobs, while manufacturing payrolls increased by 1,000.

Service-providing industries added 147,000 jobs in September, down from 152,000 in August. Among the service industries reported by the ADP's data, trade/transportation/utilities added the most jobs with 54,000 over the month. Professional/business services employment rose by 27,000, while financial activities shed 4,000 jobs.

“The job market appears to have softened in recent months,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Fiscal austerity has begun to take a toll on job creation. The run-up in interest rates may also be doing some damage to jobs in the financial services industry. While job growth has slowed, there remains a general resilience in the market. Job creation continues to be consistent with a slowly declining unemployment rate.”

The report, which is derived from ADP's payroll data, measures the change in total private nonfarm employment every month on a seasonally adjusted basis.