March 4, 2009

Small companies join large in losing jobs

The U.S. shed 697,000 non-farm jobs January to February, exceeding expectations by 67,000, a research group said Wednesday.

Payroll company Automatic Data Processing Inc. also said December to January's job losses were far greater than previously reported, revising that month's total to 614,000 lost jobs, an increase of 92,000.

The recent figure puts February as having the highest monthly job loss total since the recession began in December 2007.

Construction jobs shrank for the 25th consecutive month, losing 114,000 jobs. The figure pushes construction job losses since January 2007 over the 1 million mark.

Service jobs also declined, losing 359,000 in the month. Manufacturing jobs, down for 36 months, fell by 219,000.

The figures showed smaller companies were also cutting workers.

Companies with more than 500 employees lost 121,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses lost 314,000.

But, companies with 49 or less on the payroll lost 262,000 jobs, a sign that losses are now widespread.

This is no longer a story about big multinational companies cutting fat"¦. You're seeing large declines of employment in small- and medium-sized firms, Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers told The Christian Science Monitor.

For small businesses ... the holiday season failed to ride to the rescue, he said.