Payroll-processing giant ADP reported that private sector employment fell by 693,000 in December.

Small businesses with one to 49 employees shed 281,000 jobs, while midsized businesses with 50 to 499 employees lost 321,000 jobs. Large businesses with 500 employees or more cut 91,000 jobs.

“Sharply falling employment at medium- and small-size businesses clearly indicates that the recession has now spread well beyond manufacturing and housing-related activities,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which compiles the reports for ADP.

The goods-producing sector lost 220,000 jobs in December, while the service-providing sector slashed 473,000 jobs, the 23rd consecutive monthly decline. The manufacturing industry lost 120,000 jobs, the 27th decline in the past 28 months. The construction industry lost 102,000 jobs, the 21st consecutive monthly decline.

Among small businesses, ADP reported that the goods-producing sector lost 80,000 jobs, while the service-providing sector dropped 201,000 jobs.

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