The U.S. employment picture received a boost Wednesday after a report showed 534,000 positions were created in November.

The data released by private payroll processing firm ADP showed that the jobs added beat forecasts that projected 525,000 new positions last month. This is the third straight month job creation outpaced forecasts.

“The labor market recovery continued to power through its challenges last month,” said Nela Richardson, the chief economist at ADP. “November’s job gains bring the three-month average to 543,000 monthly jobs added, a modest uptick from the job pace earlier this year."

The results were driven by a strong performance in the service sector, led by the leisure and hospitality industry, which saw 134,000 openings filled in November.

Richardson said the service sector is "more vulnerable to the pandemic," yet it dominated all of the job gains of late. She added that the emergence of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 that was found in southern Africa last week did not affect the jobs recovery, noting that it remained too early to tell what impact it may have on employment.

The sector was battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and there was concern that the spread of the Delta variant would limit hiring during the economic reopening. The strength of the hospitality sector has been significant during the last three months for the part it has played in beating hiring expectations.

Large companies made up the lion’s share of hiring last month. Companies with 500 or more employees took on 277,000 new hires while medium-sized firms took on another 142,000 employees. However, smaller businesses with less than 50 employees were the worst performing, with only 115,000 added.

The new report's overall numbers were below the 568,000 jobs added in September and the 571,000 created in October.