Small business owners show more caution on hiring

NEW YORK (AP) — Small business owners grew more cautious about taking on new workers during April, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The payroll company ADP said small businesses added 50,000 employees last month, down from a revised 60,000 in March and the third straight monthly decline. The numbers reflect hiring at companies with fewer than 50 workers.

ADP's figures came a day after software maker Intuit reported a slight increase in the rate of hiring at small companies, with 20,000 added in April following a gain of 15,000 in March. The two companies study data provided by their customers.

Despite the gain in Intuit's numbers, both reports reflect the continuing caution of small business owners who have said in surveys they're worried about their sales, the economy and the cost of health care. That has kept many companies from adding to their staffs.

ADP said the smallest companies, those with fewer than 20 workers, added 34,000 jobs. Those with 20 to 49 workers added 17,000.

Two more reports on small business hiring are expected this week. The National Federation of Independent Business releases a survey of its members Thursday, and the Labor Department issues its April employment report on Friday.

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