Jobs in the private sector declined by 23,000 in March, with small businesses shouldering more than half of that decline in employmentaccording to the monthly National Employment Report released by payroll concernADP.

Small business lost some 12,000 posts in March, withmidsized and large businesses losing 4,000 and 7,000 jobs, respectively.

"The March employment decline was the smallest sinceemployment began falling in February of 2008. Yet the lack of improvement inemployment from February to March is consistent with the pause in the declineof initial unemployment claims that occurred during the winter," said JoelPrakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which partners with ADP on thereport.

Overall, jobs in the goods-producing sector fell by51,000 in March, while employment in the service sector rose by 28,000 duringthe same period - the second consecutive month of job increases. Meanwhile, themanufacturing sector reported a decline of 9,000 jobs.

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