Small-business hiring dropped 2.55 percent in September after a 1.15 percent increase in August, according to the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index, a barometer for hiring trends among companies with 300 or fewer employees.

This drop is the third largest statistical decline for the report.

"The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index shows a dramatic drop in employment in businesses with less than 300 employees for September," says Philip Noftsinger, business unit president for CBIZ Payroll Services. "Part of the reason is the traditional end of summer and the start of the back-to-school season; however, this drop registers higher than previous September shifts we've tracked."

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