WASHINGTON — A private survey shows U.S. businesses pulled back on hiring in May, adding the fewest jobs in four months.

Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 179,000 jobs last month, down from 215,000 in the previous month. April’s figure was revised slightly lower.

The figure suggests the government’s jobs report, to be released Friday, could also show a modest slowdown from April’s big gain of 288,000 jobs. But the ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government’s more comprehensive report.

The slowdown in the ADP figures occurred mostly in professional and business services, a category that includes many higher-paying jobs such as accountants and engineers, but also lower-paid temporary workers. That category gained 46,000 jobs, compared to 75,000 in April.