Chris Lawson, chief executive of the Eli Daniel Group, a Dallas-based staffing firm, said the jobs picture remains muddled. “We’re getting into this wait-and-see trap,” he said.

Lawson said that some employers are worried about what is going to happen in the presidential election, which will determine how the health-care law plays out.

“Small businesses are thinking about the new health-care landscape,”  Chris Lawson said. “They ask themselves, ‘Am I going to add staff or wait and see what shakes out with this election?’ On the data, there seems to be more negative news than positive. My guess is we’ll see unemployment remaining the same, or that number could go up a bit. I don’t see us all of a sudden starting to turn the corner.”

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