Government hiring surged in the leadup to the shutdown even as private sector hiring slackened, according to a Gallup survey that estimates net job creation in the public and private sectors.

"Government employees, particularly those working for federal or state governments, saw more hiring at their workplaces in September than in August, while non-government employees witnessed a little less hiring," Gallup said.

"Whether any of this reflects employers' preparation for vs. anxiety about a freeze on government activities due to the potential shutdown, or about the impending opening of the healthcare exchanges, is not clear," Gallup said.

The health care law may be hitting smaller companies harder than larger ones. "Companies are really not interested in hiring full-time people," Bob Funk of Express Employment Professionals told CNBC while discussing small and medium-sized businesses. "That's really the issue with Obamacare."