Businesses with fewer than 50 employees added two-thirds of the 91,000 new jobs that private employers created in September, says the ADP National Employment report released Wednesday.
The report analyzes payroll data for 337,000 private, non-farm U.S. companies and includes some 21 million employees.
Firms with 50 to 499 employees added 36,000 jobs, while companies with more than 500 employees slashed 5,000 jobs, says the ADP report.
Almost all the jobs—90,000 of them—were created in the service-providing sector, with the top producers being professional business services, education, healthcare and leisure services. The goods-producing sector added just 1,000 jobs. Financial services remained unchanged, while construction lost 2,000 jobs—a partial reversal of the August rise of 7,000.
The number of jobs added in September is up slightly from August's 83,000 jobs. (The small business sector also led the way in job creation in August.) Small business overall showed positive growth for the 22nd straight month, and has averaged 73,000 jobs a month for the past 12 month.
"Job growth is positive, and that suggests to me the economy is not in recession," Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which jointly developed the report, told CNBC.
A second (and separate) report was gloomier, showing the number of planned layoffs at U.S. companies have jumped to their highest level in more than two years.
Employers said they'd trim 115,730 workers from their payrolls, according to the latest numbers from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas. But nearly 70 percent (80,000) of those came from Bank of America and the U.S. Army.
The Labor Department Friday will release its employment report, which includes information on both private and public-sector payrolls. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 9.1 percent.