Small business employment edged up during July as owners gingerly took on new hires.
That report came Wednesday from payroll provider ADP, which counted 11,000 new jobs at its small business customers, those with up to 49 employees. But ADP’s smallest customers, those with up to 19 employees, cut 18,000 jobs.
The slim overall increase in hiring followed two months of job cuts — small companies cut 13,000 jobs in June and 34,000 in May, ADP said. That followed a gain of 66,000 in April.
Small business hiring has been constrained by a confluence of factors. Owners have been conservative about adding to their payrolls since the Great Recession; while in the past they would hire in anticipation of getting more business, now they tend to wait until they have the revenue to justify the hires. They also have struggled along with larger companies to find qualified workers, but because smaller companies generally aren’t able to offer the salaries and benefits that big corporations do, they have a harder time attracting top talent.
Small businesses have been far more cautious than larger companies. ADP said all of its business customers created 156,000 jobs in July.