Cutbacks in the service sector pushed job losses to a 34-year high, the government reports.
U.S. employers shed 533,000 jobs last month, the sharpest decline in 34 years, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The cuts were spread across most industries, including 370,000 fewer jobs in the service sector. Business and employment services saw the sharpest losses, followed by financial services, retail and auto dealers.
There were 163,000 jobs lost in the goods-producing sector, including continued reductions at manufacturing and construction firms.
Job losses in September and October were also revised down by a combined 199,000. Since September, payrolls have now declined by over 400,000 jobs per month.
In the past year, total hours worked have declined by 2.8 percent, while average hourly wages have grown by 3.7 percent, the report said.
On Wednesday, ADP reported that smaller employers cut 79,000 jobs in November, a seven-year high. The losses included cuts by service-sector employers with fewer than 50 employees, a group that led the nation's employment growth in recent years.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business, small-business owners in November reported reductions in employment for the third month in a row. Only four percent are expecting to hire new workers over the next three months, the Washington-based small-business lobby group said Friday.
"This indicates that weak job markets will spill over into 2009," Todd Stottlemyer, the group's CEO, said in a statement.
He called on President-elect Barack Obama to devote a "significant portion" of a broader economic stimulus plan to boosting job growth among small businesses.
About half of all private-sector employees work for small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration.