SMBs Not Optimistic, Not Hiring - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Applications
12:11 PM
Building Security for the IoT
Nov 09, 2017
In this webcast, experts discuss the most effective approaches to securing Internet-enabled system ...Read More>>

SMBs Not Optimistic, Not Hiring

Despite some isolated bright spots about the economy, a bevy of recent data on SMB confidence and hiring indicates business owners see the glass as not even half full.

Despite some isolated bright spots about the economy, a bevy of recent data on SMB confidence and hiring indicates business owners see the glass as not even half full.Any spirits that were buoyed by the Intuit hiring numbers released earlier this week were quickly brought back to low altitude by the latest ADP employment data. According to the March ADP National Employment Report, private employers cut 23,000 jobs last month.

By contrast, the Intuit Small Business Employment Index found that small business employment increased by 0.25%. The ADP data covers a much broader spectrum than the Inuit index, which tabulates data from approximately 50,000 small businesses with employee head counts or 20 or less. ADP processes paychecks from one of every six U.S. Employees and pulls data from a much broader sample that the Intuit Index: approximately 360,000 U.S. business clients representing more than 22 million U.S. Employees.

Not only did the ADP numbers indicate that jobs are still vanishing, but also the report found that small businesses, which ADP defines as companies with fewer than 50 employees, shed 12,000 jobs last month (large business with 500+ workers cut 7,000 jobs and midsize business with 50-499 workers cut 4,000 positions). One unscientific conclusion that could be drawn from comparing this data is that businesses using Intuit payroll services are hiring and those that use ADP are not.

It's a sign of how deeply mired in the economic doldrums we are at this point that the ADP data was heralded by some as positive news. Yes, 23,000 jobs are gone, but that's great news compared with the 500,000 that were being cut each month back in early late 2008 and early 2009. The Labor Department numbers for March are due out tomorrow and some predict that the report will indicate 200,000 to 250,000 new jobs created in March, but the ADP numbers have the tenterhooks fully loaded with breath-holding, egg-shell walking anticipation.

For SMBs, what is holding steady amid all this polling and data mania is a distinct lack of optimism.

  • Last month, a survey from accounting firm Grant Thornton International found that 56% of business leaders in privately held companies believe their stress levels have increased in the past year with 38% citing economic conditions as the leading cause and 26% citing cash flow concerns.
  • For February, the Discover Small Business Watch showed a slight decline in small business confidence from January. The downward trend accelerated in March wit the index falling almost 10 points to the levels of March 2009. Business owners participating in the survey indicated deteriorating business conditions: 53% believe the business climate will get worse in the next 6 months (it was 37% in February). Commenting on the index, Ryan Scully, director of Discover's business credit card, said, "We've seen bigger month-to-month drops, but there is clearly a pattern here: Small-business owners don't like what they're seeing -- both at home and in the larger economy -- and they're responding by pulling back, rather than just holding the line,"
  • In local findings, PNC Financial Services Group released the findings of SMB telephone survey it sponsored in Pennsylvania only a third expect to see increased sales, and barely more than a quarter (28%) anticipate increased profits; only 11% plan to hire.

Don't Miss:

Follow Benjamin Tomkins on Twitter @ Follow InformationWeek SMB on Twitter @ Get InformationWeek SMB on your mobile device @

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll