Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 165,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 140,000 to 200,000.
Private payroll gains in the month earlier were revised down to 151,000 from an originally reported 153,000 increase.
The report is jointly developed with Moody’s Analytics.
The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. Labor Department’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment.
Economists polled by Reuters are looking for U.S. private payroll employment to have grown by 169,000 jobs in January, up from 144,000 the month before. Total non-farm employment is expected to have climbed by 175,000.
The unemployment rate is forecast to stay steady at the 4.7 percent recorded a month earlier.