U.S. small businesses snap four months of job losses

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 1, 2012 2:01pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. small business employment steadied in October after four straight months of job losses as manufacturing firms added workers to their payrolls, a survey showed on Thursday.

The National Federation of Independent Business said the net change in employment per firm edged up to 0.02 last month after declining 0.23 in September.

"Most of the industry groups were still slightly negative, but manufacturing employment growth was still strong and construction was slightly positive," the NFIB said in a statement.

The survey was released ahead of the government's more comprehensive payroll count on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls likely increased 125,0000 in October, according to a Reuters poll, after rising 114,000 in September.

The unemployment rate is seen inching up a 10th of a percentage point to 7.9 percent. The NFIB survey showed a marginal decline in the share of employers reporting difficulties filling job openings last month.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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