Results of SurePayroll’s May 2013 Small Business Scorecard show that small businesses are growing consistently more optimistic as economic optimism increased for the fifth consecutive month to 75 percent. Optimism reached a year low for the survey in September 2012 when it dropped to 45 percent. Even as optimism continues to improve, month-over-month hiring in May ticked down 0.3 percent and the average paycheck declined 0.1 percent.
“We appear to be in a jobless recovery,” SurePayroll CEO and President, Michael Alter, said. “Many small businesses are doing well and feeling good about the economy with optimism on the rise, however there hasn’t been sufficient growth to hire.”
Hiring was also down throughout the country except in the South where hiring was flat. Nationwide hiring is down 1.7 percent over-the-year while paychecks are up 0.2 percent. The South has outperformed all other regions over-the-year as hiring rose 1.6 percent with flat paychecks. Hiring in the West dipped by 3.8 percent as paychecks fell 0.6 percent; Midwest hiring was down 2.9 percent with a paycheck upswing of 4.3 percent; and Northeast hiring was down 3.5 percent with a 2.1 percent decline in paychecks.
When asked the required conditions necessary to increase hiring, small business owners responding with “having too much to do,” “demand,” and “specific expertise to meet clients’ needs.” Top challenges to hiring listed on the survey included finding qualified candidates, understanding what their business needs, and finding the right talent within a set budget.
“The demand isn’t there and small businesses have become more efficient, which often means less hiring,” Alter continued. “For those looking to hire, it’s not easy to find the specific critical skills you need. Until we see more demand, whether it’s from new businesses or an increasingly robust housing market, we’re not likely to get the full recovery we want.”