October was a good month for small business owners as optimism in the industry saw an increase of 20% in the month to top off at 53%. What makes this even more remarkable is that optimism saw record lows in the previous months according to SurePayroll’s monthly Small Business Scorecard. The scorecard includes hiring and wage data for the top 35 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas and surveys national small business owner optimism each month.
The scorecard revealed there continued to be a flat or decreasing hiring on a national level for the month of October, the thirteenth straight month in a row. Hiring totaled a year-to-date decline in hiring of 2.9% though the company did note that this downward turn has been slowing since September. Wages also remained down slightly for the year as well.
In addition to that, the survey also found that small business owners have their minds set on long-term growth and also indicate that the current administration and presidential candidates should be focusing on putting our country’s fiscal affairs in order. Other issues addressed in the optimism survey were that 51% of small business owners reported that the most critical issues related to job growth are budget balancing, reducing the deficit and stabilizing the housing market.
What’s more is that 45% of small business owners also think that some form of flat tax would have a positive impact on hiring, with 44% thinking that a flat tax would have no impact on hiring whatsoever. In addition to that, roughly 11% thought that a flat tax could have a negative effect on hiring.
According to President of SurePoll Michael Alter, “Optimism is like the fuel that drives small businesses. With small business optimism taking such a strong upswing, we can be hopeful that hiring and wage trends may follow. While hiring is down, a closer look at the numbers shows the decline is slowing. And while wages appear flat, they are in fact up just a bit from this time last year. That coupled with rising optimism makes me think next month may be even brighter for small business.”
MSA data from the scorecard has shown that for the seventh consecutive month, the South remains the only positive region in the country for hiring. The South has also experienced minimal month-over-month growth in hiring. The Northeast, Midwest and West stand in direct contrast to this trend as these areas continue to show negative month-over-month growth. Year to date the South is up 0.5% while all the other regions are negative.
In addition to that, the survey also found that small business owners continue to to rely on contractors to meet their needs versus hiring new employees. Contractor use also showed a month-over-month increase of 1.3% . SurePayroll’s Scorecard compiles data from over 30,000 small businesses and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s so-called “micro businesses”, or those businesses with an average of eight employees.
Source: eWeek.com – Small Business Optimism Jumps 20 Percent in October