Leaflets lie on a table at a booth at a military veterans' job fairlast month in Carson, California. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Small business owners cranked back up their hiring engines last month, eclipsing the six-figure threshold for only the second month in the past year, new data show.

Small employers added 102,000 jobs in October, up from an upwardly revised 93,000 the month before, according to the latest employment report released by payroll processing firm ADP. While that’s still down from a peak of 133,000 positions added in June, it marks the second straight month of improvement after a slump to close the summer.

Hiring by small businesses continues to mirror that of the overall economy, as employers of all sizes added 230,000 positions in October, representing the second largest monthly output in the past year, too.

“Employment continues to trend upward as we begin the last quarter of 2014, driven mostly by small to mid-sized companies,” ADP CEO Carlos Rodriguez said in a statement.

In fact, it was the nation’s smallest businesses that for the third consecutive month contributed more openings than their slightly larger counterparts. Companies with fewer than 20 employees added 53,000 jobs, while companies with between 20 and 50 workers added 49,000 positions in October.

An even more consistent trend is the overwhelmingly large contribution from service-producing businesses, which were responsible for 91,000 of the 102,000 positions added by small companies last month. Notably, the contribution last month by goods-producing businesses was revised from an already-low 6,000 jobs to absolutely zero new jobs added.

One day earlier, Intuit, another payroll processing company, released its own hiring index showing that companies with fewer than 20 workers added 15,000 new jobs in October. That helped lift its monthly small-business index to its highest point since 2009 — further indication of a rebound on Main Street.

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