According to a poll conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), U.S. small business hiring was up in February, with companies adding an average of 0.04 jobs (compared to January, where new jobs rates were flat). Based on its collection of responses from 642 firms, the NFIB poll indicates that 9 percent of small businesses have added jobs in recent weeks, achieving one of the highest levels since 2007.
The results of this poll are confirmed by recent Labor Department findings that cite that weekly applications for unemployment benefits dipped in late February to a seasonally adjusted 351,000, with the four-week average falling to 354,000—both representing the lowest levels in four years. The Labor Department is scheduled to release its official February employment report in a week’s time, on March 9, although economists are predicting that it will show a 210,000 increase in non-farm payrolls with an steady 8.3 percent unemployment rate.
Another positive indicator is a mid-January Gallup poll, which indicates that more U.S. small business owners expect to increase rather than decrease their total number of employees in 2012—in fact, 14% more. This is the largest projected job growth since January 2008, hinting at a sense of optimism among small businesses. However, actual self-reported hiring numbers for 2011 remained negative, with fewer small-business owners reporting an increase in number of jobs (at 13%) than those who reported lost jobs (22%). It’s also important to note that 72% of those firms that indicated they had plans to hire said they would prefer to add temporary or contract workers, or part-time workers.
Choate, Dave. “3 Reasons Why Small Business Hiring May Finally Take Off.” BizEngine. 2/24/12. (3/2/12.) http://www.bizengine.com/small-biz-hiring/.
Jacobe, Dennis. “Small Business Hiring Intentions Best Since January 2008: Seven in 10 Owners Say They Would Hire Temporary, Contract, or Part-Time Workers.” Gallup Economy. 2/7/12. (3/2/12.) http://www.gallup.com/poll/152516/Small-Business-Hiring-Intentions-Best-January-2008.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=Business.
Reuters. “Small Business Hiring Edges Up in Feb: Poll.” Reuters U.S. 3/2/12. (3/2/12.) http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/02/us-usa-economy-smallbusiness-idUSTRE8210VA20120302.