Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press
In this Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 photo, human resources manager Leslie Almeida, right, signs in job seekers during a job fair at Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla. Payroll processor ADP reports, on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, how many jobs private employers added in January.

WASHINGTON — U.S. companies hired at a solid pace last month, a private survey found, the latest sign of steady improvement in the job market.

Payroll processor ADP says companies added 213,000 jobs last month, a decent increase though also the smallest in four months. The figure suggests Friday's government report will also show a solid burst of hiring. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the government's report will show that employers added 230,000 jobs.

The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report, which includes government agencies.

Businesses have added 200,000 jobs or more in nine of the past 10 months, ADP says.