SLOW BUT STEADY: Small business hiring stalled in October, with owners adding 34,000 jobs, the same as in September, according to ADP. The payroll provider, which bases its findings on hiring by its customers, also reported a drop in hiring by companies of all sizes, with 147,000 jobs created, down from 202,000 in September.
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Small manufacturers cut 13,000 jobs last month, while service companies added 48,000.
WHAT'S GOING ON: Small business owners have said in surveys since the recession that they won't hire unless their revenue justifies the added expense and risk. Many owners have said they'll ask current employees to take on more work, reducing the need for new hires.
Slow economic growth has made owners more cautious, but a stronger third-quarter gross domestic product report from the government may give them some encouragement about expanding. Some owners have also said they were waiting to see the results of the presidential election.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Labor Department's October employment report on Friday won't break out hiring numbers by company size. But it will give some indication of what small companies are doing. Small businesses account for half the nation's workforce, so they do have an impact on nationwide trends.