Small business did most of the heavy lifting in the job market last month. A new hiring survey showed that smaller businesses were behind most of the job gains in September to fuel the still-wobbly economy.

Washington Post business reporter J.D. Harrison wrote in an Oct. 4 post that businesses with fewer than 50 employees added 74,000 jobs last month, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report. That is an increase of 3,000 jobs from the 71,000-job gain of August.

Harrison noted that ADP’s report usually precedes the official government employment report, but due to the government shutdown the U.S. Department of Labor issued no report this month. Nonetheless, the ADP numbers highlight just how much of the economic recovery small business is shouldering.

Further, it is the smallest of small enterprises that are seeing the biggest job gains. Companies with 20 employees or fewer accounted for 46,000 of the 74,000 jobs added by small business in September.

ADP reported that mid-sized companies, those of 50-499 employees, added 28,000 jobs, while larger firms grew employment by 64,000 jobs. The 166,000 total jobs added to the economy was up slightly from the revised figure of 159,000 jobs gained in August, Harrison wrote.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which helps generate the report, was quoted by Harrison from a prepared statement noting that despite overall slowing job growth, “there remains a general resilience in the market. Job creation continues to be consistent with a slowly declining unemployment rate.”

At the forefront of the economic push-back is the service sector, which added 147,000 jobs in September compared to just 19,000 job gains for goods producers. Small business was responsible for almost half of the service industry job growth.


Harrison, J.D. “Small businesses deliver a much-needed economic jolt, add 74,000 jobs in September“; Washington Post. 10/4/13.