The numbers suggest that the government's jobs report for March, to be released Friday, will show stronger hiring. Economists forecast the government will report that employers added 195,000 jobs last month. That would be the strongest one-month gain since November.
The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.
The economy appears to be gaining some momentum after an unusually cold and snowy winter. On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, reported that U.S. manufacturing grew at a slightly faster pace last month as factory output bounced back from disruptions caused by severe winter weather.
U.S. auto sales rose 6 percent to 1.5 million vehicles last month, far outpacing analysts' expectations. The sales pace was the fastest since November, according to Autodata Corp.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which prepares the ADP numbers, said the hiring last month was "very consistent with the kind of job growth we were getting before the winter months and is suggestive of economic growth of somewhere around 3 percent" at an annual rate. The economy grew a sluggish 1.9 percent last year.