Private sector employment fell by 298,000 in the U.S. last month, according to data from payroll giant ADP.

The company’s annual national employment report found that small businesses with less than 50 employees cut 122,000 jobs, while midsized businesses with between 50 and 499 employees axed 116,000 jobs. Large businesses with 500 or more employees dropped 60,000 jobs.

The goods-producing sector fell by 152,000 jobs, while the service sector cut 146,000 jobs. Of those, 63,000 were small business jobs in the goods-producing sector, while 59,000 were small business jobs in the service-providing sector.

"Employment among small-size businesses, defined as those with fewer than 50 workers, declined 122,000 in August,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which compiles the reports for ADP. “This month's employment decline was the smallest since September of 2008. Employment among small-size businesses is likely to decline for at least several more months, albeit at a diminishing rate. Since reaching peak employment in January 2008, small-size businesses have shed 2.5 million jobs.”

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