The private-sector job market saw its fourth monthly gain in a row, says ADP's December 2013 employment report.

The payroll firm says that according to its numbers the economy added 238,000 private sector jobs last month, marking the high-water mark for 2013 and the third month in a row for over 200,000 gains.

"Private sector employment increased by 238,000 jobs from November to December," the report states. That's a small gain over November's 229,000 jobs as reported by ADP. The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

This sets a good pace but it's far from the gains needed to offset the millions who have left the workforce over the past 52 months. Most analysts say that almost as many people have left the workforce as there have been jobs created since the start of 2009 -- more than 10 million work-eligible people who have given up looking for jobs. At this pace, it would take almost 10 years to put that number back to work.

Worse news, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's monthly survey tracking job openings and labor turnover, there are three unemployed people competing for every job opening in the United States.

More detailed numbers on unemployment will be released by the BLS on Friday, and Thursday will have the release of the Gallup hiring survey.