Lynne Sladky, Associated Press
In this Tuesday, July 19, 2016, photo, Ronnie Teheran, with Service Corporation International, right, talks with a job applicant at a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. Payroll processor ADP reports employment figures for July on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

WASHINGTON — U.S. companies added 179,000 jobs last month, according to a private survey, a steady gain that suggests hiring remains healthy after a sharp fall-off in the spring.

Payroll processor ADP says services firms, such as retailers and shipping firms, added 185,000 jobs, while construction companies cut jobs and manufacturers added a meager 4,000 positions.

The report shows that many businesses are still hiring even as growth has been sluggish this year. The additional jobs, in turn, could keep Americans spending and support a pickup in growth in the second half of the year.

Still, the ADP data cover only private businesses and often diverge from the official figures. Economists forecast that the government's jobs report, to be released Friday, will show a gain of 175,000 jobs.