Small business hiring drops slightly but owners’ confidence soars
Small business hiring declined slightly in most major cities in March, while pay remained flat.
Small business hiring declined slightly in most major cities in March, while pay remained flat. Of 30 major metropolitan areas, only nine had positive hiring, though most small business owners say they are optimistic and plan to maintain or expand payrolls, according to the Houston Business Journal.
SurePayroll, the online payroll service, said analysis from its monthly Small Business Scorecard showed that small business hiring declined 0.2 percent nationwide in March. The largest decline was in Pittsburgh, where small business hiring fell 3.5 percent. Hiring declined 0.6 percent in Boston, 0.9 percent in Denver and 0.8 percent in Houston.
Nine metro areas recorded hiring increases, led by Raleigh-Durham, N.C., where small business hiring rose 1 percent. Hiring increased 0.5 percent in Atlanta, 0.8 percent in Charlotte, N.C., and 0.4 percent in Detroit. Other metro areas with hiring gains were Greensboro, N.C.; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif.; and St. Louis.
Pay, meanwhile, remained flat, even in metro areas that saw hiring increases. The size of small business paychecks in Atlanta fell 0.1 percent in March. Paychecks fell 0.3 percent in Charlotte and 0.1 percent in Raleigh-Durham. The largest dips in paycheck size came in Columbus, Ohio; and New York, both with declines of 0.7 percent.
A few cities saw paycheck sizes increase, led by San Antonio with a 0.9 percent increase. Paychecks increased 0.5 percent in Las Vegas and 0.4 percent in Cleveland.
Yet, despite weak hiring and flat paychecks, the report found that small business owners remain upbeat. Seventy percent say they are optimistic, the highest percentage since May 2011, and 80 percent say the first business quarter met or exceeded their expectations. Thirty-one percent plan to hire in 2012, and 67 percent plan to maintain current employment levels. Only 2 percent plan to cut back staff.