The National Federation of Independent Businesses latest numbers show an increase in hiring for small businesses from January to February. The net change in employment was up to 0.09 from 0.1 per firm last month.
“Labor market indicators improved, suggesting that there will be modestly better job creation and unemployment numbers. A continued rebound in the labor intensive housing industry will help a lot,” the NFIB said in a statement.
The NFIB survey found that 10 percent of small business owners throughout the country added an average of 3.5 workers per firm over the past few months. About 12 percent of business owners reduced employment. Weak sales remain the top concern among small-business owners, with 18 percent of those surveyed responding as such. 19 percent of all owners reported higher sales and 33 percent reported lower sales, which was up 1 point from the previous month. There are still far more owners reporting declining sales than reporting positive sales trends.
“While the Fortune 500 are enjoying record high earnings, Main Street earnings remain depressed. Far more firms report sales down quarter over quarter than up,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Washington is manufacturing one crisis after another — the debt ceiling, the fiscal cliff and the sequester. Spreading fear and instability are certainly not a strategy to encourage investment and entrepreneurship.”
The report is based on responses of 870 randomly sampled small businesses who are NFIB members.