The payroll company ADP said professional and business services firms added 50,000 jobs. Manufacturers created 5,000, reversing a drop in July, and construction firms 4,000. Companies in all industries and of all sizes hired in August, ADP said.
The ADP figures come a day before the Labor Department will release its jobs report for August. The department's report will capture both private- and public-sector job growth for the month.
The ADP figures often vary from the Labor Department's official job figures. According to ADP, private employers have added an average 170,000 jobs a month this year through July. The Labor Department shows companies added an average of 196,000 new jobs a month through July.
Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics, said the ADP hiring figures were "broadly consistent" with economists' expectations that Friday's Labor report will show that private and government employers combined added roughly 180,000 jobs in August.
"The job market has held up better than I would have thought," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which compiles the ADP report. He called the job creation "remarkably consistent."
Zandi had expected hiring to be depressed by federal budget cuts that took effect in March and by employers' preparations for President Barack Obama's health care law.
The law requires companies to provide full-time workers with health insurance or pay a penalty. In doing so, this provision provides an incentive to reduce full-time jobs, though the requirement won't take full effect until 2015.