ADP report: Small business hiring marks time in August

Small business hiring was little changed in August, with companies adding 48,000 jobs. That's according to ADP, the payroll service that tracks the number of workers at its small business customers.

Small companies had added 49,000 jobs in July, a sharp revision from ADP's earlier report of 17,000.

Hiring has been relatively stable since May, averaging more than 54,000 new jobs a month. But that's down from the average of 84,000 in the first four months of 2017.

Surveys including recent ones released by Wells Fargo and by MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have shown small business owners have generally conservative hiring plans. Although they have more confidence in the economy and expect their revenues to increase, many are still cautious about taking risks like hiring more staffers. Owners have also said they won't hire unless they have enough new revenue to justify the added payroll expense.

ADP's report reflected job gains at businesses with up to 49 employees. It also reported that companies of all sizes added a healthy 237,000 jobs last month.

The government releases its August employment report on Friday.