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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Jan. 5

Stocks in this article: ADP INTU BAC

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Private-sector jobs rise in December. The latest ADP (ADP) National Employment Report numbers are out, showing December private-sector jobs rose 325,000 compared with the prior month, the strongest increase since December 2010.

The bulk of the jobs added were by small and medium-sized private-sector businesses. Small businesses added 148,000 jobs in December, up 36% from November. Medium-sized businesses added 140,000 jobs.

Not surprisingly, the service-providing industries made up the bulk of the jobs: 273,000 last month. Employment in the private, goods-producing sector rose 52,000 in December. Manufacturing employment increased 22,000, tripling the previous month's increase of 7,000, while construction employment grew 26,000 during that period, according to ADP.

ADP slightly lowered the employment gain from October to November to 204,000 from 206,000.

"The estimate for December suggests that employment accelerated for the fourth consecutive month, consistent with the year-end pickup in economic growth," says Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which partners with ADP to create the monthly report. "Today's report, which is notably above the consensus forecasts both for today's number and for Friday's jobs estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, points toward a strengthening labor market."

There are other indicators to signal improving labor market conditions, including "the downward trend in unemployment claims, upturns in consumer sentiment and confidence influenced by perceptions about the availability of jobs, along with a rising trend in employees voluntarily quitting their positions," Prakken says.

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