NEW YORK — Small business hiring slowed in October, continuing a pattern of erratic job growth that began early this year.

That's the finding of a report from payroll company ADP, which counted 29,000 new jobs at its small business customers, those with up to 49 staffers. ADP also downwardly revised its September count, to 43,000 from the originally reported 56,000 jobs. In August, 21,000 new jobs were tallied.

Small business hiring is lagging behind job growth at larger companies. ADP counted 227,000 new jobs at its business customers overall during October.

Economists have said small businesses are hampered by a dearth of qualified candidates for open positions. Company owners are also being cautious about taking on the added expenses and risks that come with expanding their staffs. While that is a trend that began with the recession, it may also be reflecting owners' concerns about higher prices due to the Trump administration's trade tariffs and other countries' retaliatory tariffs. Rising interest rates may also be a factor.