NEW YORK (AP) — Small businesses hired at a slower pace in September, a sign that owners are still being cautious.
Payroll service provider ADP said Wednesday that small businesses added 81,000 employees, last month, down from a revised 94,000 in August and up from a revised 69,000 in July.
The fluctuations show owners' reluctance to expand because they're uncertain about their sales and the overall economy. Uncertainty about next month's presidential election is also a concern for many small business owners, according to recent surveys.
ADP's small business report is part of its broader look at employment at companies. It said businesses of all sizes added 162,000 jobs last month, also a slower pace from August's revised 189,000.
ADP considers companies with fewer than 50 employees to be small. That means its survey is much narrower than other reports on small business hiring. The government considers companies with fewer than 500 workers to be small.
Two more reports on small business employment are due this week. The National Federation of Independent Business releases the results of its survey of its members on Thursday. And the Labor Department's report for September comes out Friday. Although the government does not spell out how many jobs were created by small businesses, the vast majority of private employers in the country are small companies.