Hiring by American employers was unexpectedly strong last month, with jobs added at a particularly brisk pace in health care, hospitality and trade services, the payrolls firm ADP reported Thursday.
The result could help ease worries about a slowdown in the American economy.
However, the figures come a day before a much more closely watched government report and the two are frequently out of step.
The US private sector added 195,000 new positions for the month, largely led by the service sector, according to ADP, a significantly faster pace than the 142,000 added in July.
Economists had instead expected a more modest gain of only 150,000.
"Businesses are holding firm on their payrolls despite the slowing economy. Hiring has moderated, but layoffs remain low," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which jointly produced the report, said in a statement.
"As long as this continues recession will remain at bay."
The mining sector shed 2,000 jobs, perhaps reflecting a dip in oil prices, while information services lost 6,000 workers.
But elsewhere, the gains were widespread and distributed evenly between small, medium and large-sized businesses.
Economists have begun to worry about the pace of job creation this year as the US economy slows. Monthly hiring has moved down a notch since last year, according to government statistics.
And a survey this week showed a precipitous drop in hiring activity by American manufacturers, which have been hard hit in the trade war.
Forecasters expect the US government will announce on Friday that US employers added another 171,000 net new positions last month, while unemployment is expected to be unchanged at 3.7 per cent.
Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said Thursday that ADP report was solid "but it won't last."
The payrolls company has overshot the official result for August in five of the past six years, he wrote in a client note, adding that business surveys pointed to slower hiring in the coming months.
"This likely will be the best ADP number for some time," he said.