Small business employment creeps up in September

SLOWER JOB GROWTH: Small businesses added only about 1,000 jobs in September, according to software maker Intuit, which analyzed payroll data posted online by its customers. The small increase followed a revised reading for August that showed employment was stable, instead of falling slightly as originally reported.

WHAT IT MEANS: Small businesses stuck to their conservative stance on hiring last month. Hiring has plateaued since the spring after rising at a modest but steady pace since the start of 2012. Business owners have been taking few risks because of uncertainty about their sales, the health of the economy and the impact of the health care law. Intuit's report showed that owners are right to be wary; overall small business revenue fell 0.04 percent in August, with only the real estate and construction industries showing an increase.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Look for September small business employment reports from payroll company ADP on Wednesday and the National Federation of Independent Business on Thursday. But if the federal government is still shut down Friday, the Labor Department won't be issuing its monthly report on jobs.

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