A National Federation of Independent Business poll of 2,155 small business firms revealed that SB hiring was flat for January 2012, with SBs posting numbers slightly better than December but far from the levels needed to support a strong recovery and resolution to the nation’s unemployment woes. Furthermore, when taking into consideration December’s traditional seasonal slowdown, experts see any uptick as insignificant.
According to the NFIB poll, the numbers came in as follows. Although 11 percent of small business owners added jobs in January, an equal percentage eliminated jobs, with 78 percent making no change whatsoever. In addition, the net percentage of small business owners who were actively creating new job openings fell a single percentage point to 5 percent. Hard-to-fill job openings (or jobs that companies were unable to fill) in the small business sector rose to 18 percent, which is the highest level in over 3 years.
However, there were some positive signs, primarily that the percentage of small business firms reducing employment was the lowest since 2007. The survey also reports that current job openings are at their highest numbers in 40 months and that small businesses are anticipating a lower employment rate overall in the immediate future.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s January employment report, also released Friday, February 3, showed overall January payrolls up by 243,000 (as compared with 203,000 in December), with the 8.3 percent unemployment rate at a 3 year low. Other company polls demonstrate similarly mixed results. For instance, financial analysis company Sageworks showed small business revenues up between 6 and 8 percent over the past year, while Small Business Scorecard (by SurePayroll) reported that paycheck sizes were relatively flat.
Reuters (Kaiser, Emily). “Small Business Hiring Flat in January: Poll.” 2/3/12 (2/3/12.) http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/03/us-usa-economy-smallbusiness-idUSTRE8120AL20120203?type=smallBusinessNews.
Khazan, Olga. “Small Business Hiring Lags Behind national Picture.” The Washington Post. 2/3/12. (2/3/12.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/small-business-hiring-lags-behind-national-picture/2012/02/03/gIQAZKwOnQ_story.html.
Orsini, Patricia. “Jobs Up, but Small Business Survey Reports Little Gain.” CNBC.com Small Business. 2/3/12 (2/3/12.) http://www.cnbc.com/id/46252113.
Tanzi, Alex. “U.S. NFIB January Small Business Jobs Summary.” Bloomberg News. 2/3/12. (2/3/12.) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-03/u-s-nfib-january-small-business-jobs-summary-table-.html.