Small business hiring slows further in October

SMALL BUSINESS HIRING SLOWS: Payroll company ADP reported Wednesday that its small business customers added 37,000 jobs during October, well below the pace of previous months. And ADP revised downward its count of new jobs in September. It now says 68,000 were added, down from the original report of 74,000. Meanwhile, software maker Intuit said employment at its small business customers fell 0.06 percent this month, the fourth straight monthly drop.

WHAT'S GOING ON? Some of the October decline was likely a reaction to the partial shutdown of the federal government, which occurred the first half of the month. Some companies, including those with federal contracts, were forced to lay off employees because they had no work from the government. And the government wasn't issuing checks to its contractors, which hurt companies' cash flow and ability to hire. Many owners were also anxious about health care costs as insurance exchanges opened.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Labor Department will release its report on October employment on Nov. 8. Expect it to also show the impact of the government shutdown. The government doesn't break out job gains and losses by company size, but more than 99 percent of the businesses in the U.S. are small, so the report will reflect their hiring trends.

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