The U.S. private sector added 176,000 jobs from May to June while filings for unemployment insurance  declined, according to data released Thursday.

The jobs gain from April to May was revised upward from the initial estimate of 133,000 jobs to 136,000 positions, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

The report, which was created by HR solutions firm Automatic Data Processing, is better than expected, with analysts previously forecasting lower gains of roughly 100,000 jobs. With the market anticipating a weak ADP report, many were expecting a bloodbath on Wall Street after the July Fourth holiday. Instead, the jobs reports were more optimistic than expected.

Most of the gains were in the small business sector, with companies adding 93,000 positions. Meanwhile, medium-sized and large business reported gains of 72,000 and 11,000 jobs, respectively.

The goods-producing sector added 16,000 positions while the service-producing sector ranked second in terms of growth, with 160,000 new jobs created.

During the same week, jobless claims from unemployed Americans fell to 374,000 filings, compared to a revised figure of 388,000 a week earlier.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all of the programs for the week ending June 16 was 5.8 million, down 20,439 from the previous week.

Employment research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas also said the number of planned layoffs for June hit 37,511, down significanty from 61,887 in May and 41,432 a year earlier.

Analysts with Econoday reviewed the report, saying, "Despite indications of slowing business activity, the report says employers are reluctant to cut their staffs in what is a good indication for both weekly jobless claims ... and for Friday's monthly employment report."

The layoffs that did occur in June occurred mostly in the areas of education and telecommunications.

Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, said, "The relationship between the ADP survey and the payrolls survey is not perfect. Indeed, May's 136,000 ADP gain (which was revised up from the initial estimate of 133,000) was too optimistic relative to May's 69,000 rise in payrolls. But over a number of months the two tend to move fairly closely, suggesting that some of the sharper slowdown in the official measure may be temporary."