EDGING UP: Small businesses nudged their hiring pace higher in August, adding 63,000 jobs, payroll company ADP said Wednesday. That's an increase of 2,000 from July's 61,000 new jobs, but down substantially from the monthly average of 84,000 during the first half of the year. ADP compiles the report from data posted online by its small business customers, which are companies with up to 49 employees.

WHERE THE JOBS ARE: Companies that provide services, such as retailers, doctors and other professionals and technology consultants, created 66,000 jobs this month. Manufacturers cut 4,000 jobs. Nearly 40 percent of the jobs came from the smallest businesses, those with up to 19 employees, and approximately 60 percent were added at companies with 20 to 49 staffers.

WHAT THE REPORT TELLS US: Small business owners remain cautious as they see the economy creeping along at a weak pace. The Commerce Department reported at the end of July that the gross domestic product rose at a slim annual rate of 1.1 percent in the second quarter following a 0.8 percent gain in the first three months of the year.

Owners have also said in surveys this year they're holding off on any big moves including adding staffers while they await the outcome of the presidential election in November. And many have said they won't hire until their revenue is strong enough to justify expanding their companies.