Survey: Small business hiring slowed in May

Small businesses hired workers at a slower pace in June, the second straight month of weakening job gains despite an overall healthy economy.

Payroll company ADP said Thursday it counted 29,000 new jobs at its customers with 49 or fewer employees. This marks a decline from small business job gains of 46,000 in May and 50,000 in April. So far this year, small businesses have been creating on average 46,000 jobs a month.

ADP reported that overall private employers added 177,00 jobs last month, a slight drop-off from the average this year of 202,667 a month as companies say they're having a tougher time finding skilled workers.

The ADP report comes a day ahead of the official monthly employment report being released Friday by the Labor Department.

Payroll provider Paychex found in a separate report released June 3 that its small business jobs index had declined. Its index has been falling since March 2017 because of a tight job market in which employers are struggling to find skilled workers.

Despite signs of a worker shortage, Paychex found that pay growth has been trending downward. Pay usually rises when employers struggle to find capable workers, since the additional income entices workers to leave their previous jobs.

Average hourly earnings at employers with fewer than 50 workers increased just 2.47 percent over the past year. That's down from average pay growth of 2.95 percent a year ago.