Small-business hiring plans reach highest level since 2007

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — The percentage of small-business owners planning to hire more workers rose last month to its highest level since 2007, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

The jump came as the group’s overall small-business optimism index slipped 0.1 point to 94 in August from the previous month, and amid some other conflicting data on the state of the key economic sector.

The Small Business Economic Trends Survey, released Tuesday, also showed that sales were down and small businesses cut workers for the fourth straight month in August, with the average firm shedding 0.3 employees.

But plans for new hiring in the next three months surged by 7 percentage points in August. The 16 percent of businesses anticipating expanded employment was the best since before the Great Recession began.

“If this reading is not a fluke, it signals a substantial resumption of hiring in the coming months,” the NFIB report said. “Hopefully, the September survey will validate the August readings and reports of actual hiring will turn positive.”

NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg acknowledged that the August report contained “a rather perplexing set of statistics.”

Although major job cutbacks have stopped, hiring by small businesses has not turned positive. Still, hiring plans increased, though NFIB said most of those jobs probably will be part-time.

A gauge of sales dropped by 17 percentage points, the second-largest decline since the NFIB began its monthly survey in 1986. Nearly a quarter of small-business owners said they sold less from June through August than they did in the previous three months, the worst reading since early 2010.

But the percentage of owners anticipating sales volume to increase in the next three months jumped to 15 percent in August, from 7 percent the previous month. That was the best level in more than five years.

—-

&Copy;2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

—————

Topics: t000002899,t000156693,t000152773

More in Herald Business Journal

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Providence said to be in talks for merger with Ascension

The two Catholic health organizations have been exploring joining forces, sources say.

Hospital companies merge as insurers encroach on their turf

An anticipated deal between Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension is only the latest.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Washington, Amazon sue company over seller training programs

Braintree is accused of using deceptive ads promising information on how to make money on Amazon.

Lockheed-Martin dominates global arms sales, Boeing is 2nd

The combined sales of U.S.-based companies totaled $217 billion.

The Marine Corps’ version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is designed to land vertically like a helicopter. (Lockheed Martin)
F-35 fighter costs, $1 trillion over 60 years, draw scrutiny

Pentagon’s ability to repair F-35 parts at military depots is six years behind schedule.

Most Read