Employment in the private sector fell by 532,000 jobs in May, according to payroll figures from ADP.

Small businesses with between 1 and 49 employees lost 209,000 jobs last month, while midsized businesses with between 50 and 499 employees shed 223,000 jobs, and large businesses with 500 employees or more dropped 100,000 jobs. The goods-producing and service-providing sectors came out roughly even in job losses, with the goods sector axing 267,000 jobs, and the service sector cutting 265,000 jobs. The manufacturing industry alone lost 149,000 jobs.

Within the 209,000 job losses among small business, the goods-producing sector lost 98,000 small business jobs, while the service-providing sector dropped 111,000 small business jobs.

Despite the gloomy numbers, Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which compiles the monthly reports with ADP, said it showed some hopeful signs. “This is a notable improvement over the first three months of the year, when monthly losses averaged 691,000,” he said in a statement. “Nevertheless, despite some recent indications that economic activity is stabilizing, employment, which usually trails overall economic activity, is likely to decline for at least several more months, although perhaps not as rapidly as during the last six months.”

Separately, the Labor Department released figures Wednesday showing that 93 metropolitan areas posted an unemployment rate of at least 10 percent in April, more than 13 times the number of U.S. cities that had similar double-digit levels of unemployment a year ago. Nine metropolitan areas with unemployment rates of 15 percent or more are in California. Nationally the unemployment rate is 8.9 percent.

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