NEW YORK – Small business hiring is looking a little stronger, according to the latest ADP employment report.

The payroll provider said Wednesday that its smallest customers, those with up to 49 employees, added 68,000 jobs in February, an improvement from January’s 63,000.

ADP also reported that December hiring was stronger than initially reported – 99,000 new jobs versus the original tally of 93,000.

Small business hiring has fluctuated for more than a year, and hasn’t always kept pace with strong gains at larger businesses. ADP’s report on hiring at companies of all sizes showed a healthy gain of 235,000 jobs last month, with significant increases in construction, hotels and restaurants, and education and health care.

Small company owners haven’t let go of the conservative approach to hiring they were forced to adopt during the Great Recession and the first few years after its official end in June 2009.