jobsSurePayroll Inc., a leading nationwide online payroll provider to small businesses, has released the results of its SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, which revealed that hiring was down 0.1 percent and the average paycheck was down 0.2 percent from August to September 2012. However, the level of optimism of small business owners rose to 68 percent, where it has been most of the year.

“The small business community isn’t placing any bets right now and it’s no wonder in this uncertain economic environment — uncertainty often leads to inaction,” said SurePayroll CEO and President Michael Alter. “Hopefully the election results will provide enough clarity around future fiscal and government policies which will spur small business to play their hiring and investment cards.”

All regions, save the South, were down over-the-month in hiring with the South edging up 0.3 percent. Paychecks were up only in the Midwest, which saw an increase of 0.3 percent over-the-month. Over the prior 12 month period, nationwide hiring is down 1.5 percent and paychecks are down 1.3 percent, despite the South showing signs of improved hiring (up 1.4 percent) and paychecks down only 0.8 percent. The most severe hiring decline occurred in the West where the rate fell by 4.9 percent and paychecks dropped by 0.6 percent. Midwest hiring is down 2.2 percent while paychecks rose 0.9 percent. Hiring in the Northeast is also down 2.2 percent but paychecks are down twice that figure at 4.4 percent.

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