NEW YORK — Lending to small businesses is shrinking as company owners grow more pessimistic about the economy.

A study released today by PayNet, a research firm that tracks loans to small business, shows that lending fell 2 percent in April after a 3 percent drop in March. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index fell to 94.1 in April from the previous month’s 98.5. It was at 110.5 in December.

The PayNet report comes a day after payroll company ADP said the pace of hiring by the smallest businesses, those with fewer than 50 employees, slowed in May. Both reports show that company owners are increasingly reluctant to hire or expand in an uncertain economy.

PayNet bases its report on new commercial loans and leases granted to small businesses in its database.