Among employers with 300 or fewer employees, employment rose 0.39 percent in December after a growth of 0.82 percent in November, according to The CBIZ Small Business Employment.

Based on this data, the private sector brought in 215,000 jobs, far surpassing analysts' estimates of 140,000 jobs.

"As expected and consistent with readings from the entire fourth quarter, our Index shows a minimal 0.39 percent gain," says Philip Noftsinger, business unit president of CBIZ Payroll Services. "A reading this low, while not negative, does show that small businesses surveyed are still holding back on hiring, most likely awaiting the results from Washington on tax rate changes as well as spending cuts."

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