The number of new jobs U.S. employers added in August outpaced the previous month, but fell below industry estimates, according to a report released Wednesday by payroll services firm ADP.
The report found that from July to August, U.S. companies added a total of 374,000 jobs, including 86,000 additional workers at small businesses and roughly 149,000 for midsized companies.
For large businesses that employ 500 or more people, about 138,000 new jobs were added in August, according to ADP.
While the total number added is above the 326,000 new jobs recorded in July, it falls well below the 600,000 previously estimated by Dow Jones, CNBC reported.
The lackluster ADP report comes two days before the Labor Department is set to release the monthly federal jobs report, which covers the private and public sectors. Economists expected the U.S. to have added roughly 750,000 jobs in August, according to consensus estimates, but there is considerable uncertainty over how the emergence of the delta variant will affect the total.
Consumer confidence has plunged since COVID-19 cases began surging in late July, but after the survey period for that month's jobs report, which showed a gain of 943,000 jobs. Widespread school closures may also limit the ability of many parents who left the workforce to return as planned upon the start of the school year.
--Updated at 10:05 a.m.