NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Small business owners borrowing more in October, a sign that they might be getting more confident about hiring. Lending to small companies rose 11 percent from September's level, according to a survey released Monday by PayNet, which provides credit ratings on small businesses. Small business lending has been erratic recently, dropping in September after increasing in July and August. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending index, which is based on new commercial loans and leases granted to small businesses, rose to 107.5 from a revised 96.4. Recent reports have shown that small companies are slowly hiring. And the government reported another positive trend last week: The economy grew at a better-than-expected 2.7 percent annual rate during the third quarter. Several reports this week will show whether businesses stepped up their hiring during November.