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ADP says small business hiring slowed sharply in September

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Small business hiring slowed dramatically in September, payroll provider ADP said Wednesday, as owners seemed to grow more cautious amid the presidential election campaign.

Companies created 34,000 jobs last month, down from 63,000 in August and a monthly average of more than 78,000 this year, ADP said. In 2015, small businesses created an average 91,000 jobs per month.

The results, which reflect hiring by ADP customers with up to 49 employees, show that small business owners have turned increasingly cautious. ADP’s numbers show hiring falling off starting in July, when the Republican and Democratic national conventions were held. Companies created 95,000 jobs in June.

Surveys have shown that owners are concerned about the impact the election might have on their business. Besides the uncertainty about who will be president, it’s unclear whether the Republican Party will maintain its control of the Senate. The House is largely expected to remain in GOP hands.

Owners are also concerned about the economy’s slow growth. The gross domestic product grew at a 1.4 per cent annual rate in the second quarter and 0.8 per cent in the spring. The government will release its first estimate of third-quarter growth later this month.