By Vicki Needham - 10/03/12 12:35 PM EDT
The ADP report comes out two days before the Labor Department will release its jobs count for last month, which covers public and private payrolls.
Expectations are for a payroll employment gain of 130,000, with the private sector adding 140,000. The unemployment rate is expected to tick up to 8.2 percent.
A better-than-estimated report could boost Obama's chances for reelection, while another disappointing report could help Romney in the polls.
Businesses are nervous about hiring because of the looming fiscal cliff, a mix of expiring tax provisions and a new round of spending cuts.
Congress is expected to hammer out — at least — a short-term solution when they return to Washington after the elections for a lame-duck session.
In Wednesday's report, the service sector continued its dominance, adding 144,000 jobs last month, although that was a slower pace than the 175,000 produced in August.
A separate report on the service sector, which covers about 90 percent of the job market and includes restaurants and hotels, is due out later Wednesday morning.
More good news in the report is the uptick in manufacturing and construction jobs.
Manufacturing employment rose by 4,000, while construction employment was up by 10,000 — the best performance since March, when the mild weather boosted activity.
Factory activity had contracted for three straight months but bounced back in September, showing strengthening jobs growth.
The financial services sector added 7,000 jobs in September, marking the 14th consecutive monthly gain.
Large payrolls — those with 500 or more workers — expanded by 17,000, and employment on medium payrolls — those with 50 to 499 workers — rose 64,000 in September, nearly all in the services sector.
Small businesses expanded their payrolls by 81,000 last month.