Private sector employment declined by 742,000 jobs last month, according to the latest monthly report by payroll giant ADP.

Small businesses with less than 50 employees lost 284,000 jobs in March, while midsized businesses with between 50 and 499 employees cut 330,000 jobs, and large businesses with over 499 employees shed 128,000 jobs. The goods-producing sector lost 327,000 jobs, while the service sector dropped 415,000 jobs. The manufacturing industry alone accounted for 206,000 job losses. Construction employment dropped by 118,000.

Small businesses in the goods-producing sector cut 111,000 jobs, while those in the service-providing sector shed 173,000.

“Despite some recent indications that stock prices, consumer spending and housing activity may be bottoming out, employment, which usually trails overall economic activity, is likely to remain very weak for at least several more months,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which compiles the reports for ADP.

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