NEW YORK – Small businesses kept to their slow pace of hiring during October, according to a report Thursday by payroll service ADP.
ADP said small businesses added 50,000 workers last month, and medium-size businesses added 27,000.
The report was another sign that owners are still cautious while they wait to see what happens to their companies’ sales, the economy and next week’s election. Recent surveys have shown that owners are unwilling to take on new employees or expand their companies because there is so much uncertainty about what business will be like in the months ahead.
The company considers a small business to have up to 49 workers, and a medium-size business up to 499.
However, the federal government considers a small business to have 499 or fewer workers. Using the government’s standard, small businesses added 77,000 workers.
The October report was the first in which ADP included numbers for what it considers medium-size businesses. It previously included them under the category of larger companies. In September, ADP said small businesses added 81,000 workers.
The report was part of ADP’s overall look at employment at companies. It said employers added a total of 158,000 workers last month, an improvement over the 114,000 in September and 82,000 in October.
The ADP report comes a day before the government releases its report on October employment. The Labor Department does not report employment according to the size of companies, but about 99 percent of businesses in this country are small.
ADP compiles its report from payroll figures at the companies that are its clients.