Private businesses add 178,000 workers in July

WASHINGTON - U.S. businesses added a solid 178,000 jobs in July, a survey found, evidence that employers remain confident enough about future demand to keep hiring.

In its monthly private sector jobs report, payroll processor ADP said the biggest gains were in fields such as education, health care and shipping. Manufacturers actually cut 4,000 jobs, while construction firms added 6,000. Mining, which includes oil and gas drilling, gained 3,000 jobs.

The figures provide some reassurance that the U.S. economy remains healthy. Consumer spending slowed last month as Americans cut back sharply on auto purchases. But the overall economy grew at a decent 2.6 percent annual pace in the April-June quarter.

Analysts predict the government's jobs report, to be released Friday, will show a robust 190,000 jobs were added, according to data provider FactSet.