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Non-farm private employment declined by 22,000 jobs in January 2010 compared
with December 2009, but according to HR outsourcing firm Automatic Data
Processing (ADP), that figure actually
represented some good news.

“The January employment decline was the smallest since employment began falling
in February 2008,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors, in a
statement. Macroeconomic Advisors helps create the monthly ADP
National Employment Report together with ADP.
"Growth of overall private employment is on the verge of turning
positive.”

And in the services sector the news was even brighter, as jobs grew by 38,000,
registering their second consecutive monthly increase. Jobs in the goods-producing
sector did not fare as well, however, with a decline of 60,000, and employment
in the manufacturing sector dropping by 25,000.

“The employment decline in the manufacturing sector was the lowest since
January of 2008,” Prakken noted.

Large businesses—those with 500 or more workers—saw employment levels decline
by 19,000, and small businesses—those with 50 or fewer workers—saw a decline of
12,000 jobs. But medium-size businesses (those with between 50 and 499
employees) saw an increase of 9,000 jobs in January, representing the first increase
in employment since January 2008.

Breaking out the performance of small business employment specifically, ADP
noted that jobs for small business in the goods-producing sector declined by
28,000, but in the service-producing sector jobs increased by 16,000.

Small business’s overall decline of 12,000 jobs in January marked the smallest
decline since July 2008, according to Prakken.