Private employers added a paltry 13,000 jobs in June, compared to a revised gain of 57,000 in May, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Thursday.
The May figure was originally reported as a gain of 55,000.
The median of estimates from 30 economists surveyed by Reuters for the ADP Employer Services report, jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, was for a rise of 60,000 private-sector jobs in June.
The ADP figures come ahead of the government's much more comprehensive labor market report on Friday.
That report is expected to show a fall in nonfarm payrolls of 110,000 in June overall, as many temporary workers hired to complete the government's decennial census were laid off.
However, a gain in private payrolls of 112,000 is expected, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
Economists often refer to the ADP report to fine-tune their expectations for the payrolls numbers, though it is not always accurate in predicting the outcome.
(Reporting by Burton Frierson, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)