ADP: Small-business hiring jumps in January

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NEW YORK (AP) — Small-business hiring jumped in January to their highest level in six years, boosted by employers that offer services, according to a report released Wednesday.

Small businesses with fewer than 49 employees added 115,000 jobs in January, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. That's up from the revised 9,000 jobs added in December, which was previously reported as 25,000.

It's the biggest increase in hiring since February 2006 when 152,000 jobs were added. It's also the first time small businesses have added more than 100,000 jobs in a month since February 2012.

Most of January's increase came from companies that provide services. Those businesses added 106,000 jobs. Small businesses that make goods added 9,000 jobs.

The report was part of ADP's overall look at employment in the private sector. Employers of all sizes added 192,000 jobs in January, up from a revised figure of 185,000 in December, ADP said. Small businesses accounted for about 60 percent of those gains.

The report comes before the U.S. Labor Department releases its closely watched employment report on Friday.

ADP's small-business hiring picture mirrors one released by business and financial software maker Intuit, which said employment at small companies rose by 0.11 percent, or 20,000 new jobs in January. That was up from 15,000 jobs in December. Intuit analyzes payroll data from 170,000 small-business owners who use its products.

ADP, based in Roseland, N.J., compiles its report from companies that use its payroll services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and from business conditions data provided by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank. ADP said its numbers come from 406,000 employers and from 23 million employees. Unlike the Labor Department's report, ADP doesn't count government jobs.