Honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention to these ADP reports until the downturn really went sour last September. I posted on them a couple of times when small business employment grew, slightly, in the midst of bad news almost everywhere else. And now it seems like cheating if I don’t keep up with it, as the bad news rolls in.

Small businesses lost 281,000 jobs in December. That was 80,000 in manufacturing and 201,000 in services. By the way, ADP defines small business as having fewer than 50 employees. That works for me.

The source document is at www.ADPemploymentreport.com.

I downloaded some statistics as an Excel file available from that site. It turns out that goods-producing small businesses have lost more than half a million jobs since the high point of January of 2007, when they employed 8.1 million people. Service sector small businesses have lost more than half a million jobs since their high point of just last April 2008, when they employed 43 million people.

What’s surprising to me, also, is that this new data isn’t surprising. I’m not sure I’m going to continue to post these monthly results. I don’t want to be predictable.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.