Payroll service provider SurePayroll found that month-over-month hiring declined 0.2 percent in September, according to its SurePayroll Scorecard, while year-over-year hiring fell 1.5 percent.

On a month-over-month basis, the average paycheck size remained about the same in September compared to August, while on a year-over-year basis, it fell 1.2 percent.

SurePayroll’s September optimism survey found optimism among small business owners was 45 percent, a sharp drop from 60 percent in August. Four out of five small business owners’ optimism is being affected by the upcoming election. 

The survey also asked small business owners about their views of the upcoming presidential election. The company noted that results are no in way representative of SurePayroll’s views and opinions. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 5 percentage points, based on results from 411 respondents. Some of the results include:

•    77 percent said the election is having an impact on their optimism.
•    61 percent said they plan to vote for Mitt Romney; 33 percent for Barack Obama.
•    66 percent said Romney is better for small businesses; 34 percent say Obama is better for small business.
•    67 percent said Romney better represents their views on economic/fiscal policy, while 33 percent said Obama best represents those views.
•    65 percent said Romney would drive more jobs, while 35 percent said Obama would drive more jobs.
•    Economic and tax policy were the two biggest drivers of small business owners’ votes; followed by health care, the national debt and foreign policy.

“It’s deeply concerning that optimism plunged 15 points at a time when we’re struggling to maintain the recovery,” said SurePayroll CEO and president Michael Alter in a statement. “This suggests a lack of growth through the election, but what’s more troubling is what it could mean beyond that. When small business owners are not optimistic, they’re not investing and they’re not hiring.”

For more information, visit http://www.surepayroll.com/scorecard/.