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5/3/2010
09:33 AM
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More Data Suggests Rising SMB Confidence

The latest Small Business Scorecard indicates continued increases in hiring and a significant uptick in business owner confidence about the economy.

The latest Small Business Scorecard indicates continued increases in hiring and a significant uptick in business owner confidence about the economy.Small business owners had a much brighter outlook in April than March and are putting cash behind that optimism with continued increases in hiring. Survey data released today by SurePayroll indicates a 12 point jump (to 67%) in optimism about economic conditions for SMBs and a rise in hiring that now stands at 3.4% year-to-date nationally and an even brighter 3.9% in the Midwest and 3.8% in the West.

The boosts in hiring and optimism are among the findings of the April SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard. The monthly scorecard is based on payroll data compiled by the online payroll provider. These positive trending numbers reinforce the data released Friday in the Inuit Small Business Employment Index, which is also based on payroll data.

Though it would be nice to hop on the SMB optimism bandwagon (insert the WSJ axiom that "two's a coincidence, but three's a trend" here), neither the SurePayroll nor the Intuit data strides into bullish territory. Despite the trend toward hiring, the Scorecard monthly pay index fell 0.1% making the year-to-date decrease 0.3%. Combine that with the employment numbers in the Northeast, which stand at 2.1% and there's ample fodder for a pessimistic view here.

As SurePayroll President Michael Alter said, "Bottom line for small business is that while some good things are happening, until more small businesses start hiring full-time workers -- and those workers spend with confidence due to perceived job security -- it's not time to declare a full recovery."

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