The economy has been in a slow but steady recovery mode for some time now, and that has allowed many small businesses across the country to see improved bottom lines, which in turn allow them to bring on more workers. However, experts say that the harsh winter weather of the last few months stalled that improvement in many parts of the country, and as such it seems as though a large number of small businesses were simply unable to create more jobs in the month of March.
Overall, small business revenue was down 0.15 percent – meaning it was effectively flat – in February, which in turn had an impact on March’s jobs numbers, according to the latest data from Intuit. At the same time, though, the average amount of hours worked by small business employees in a given week continued to rise – up 0.2 percent or 18 minutes from February to 108.8 hours worked, or roughly 25 hours per week – as did their monthly compensation, which climbed 0.4 percent or $9 to $2,747. Nonetheless, jobs numbers remained more or less unchanged.
“Small businesses are continuing to hire, but the rate of new hires remains low – close to the level it fell to in June 2009,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who works with Intuit to create the indexes. “However, the number of employees leaving jobs or being laid off offsets the rate of hiring. Thus, employment levels remained flat for the second consecutive month. Employment losses in March were concentrated in states suffering from the cold weather, especially in the upper Midwest and Mountain States. The silver lining is that nationally, small business employers are giving more hours to their existing employees, an increase of 0.2 percent from the previous month. This is the highest it’s been since January 2013.”
Part of the reason?
The aforementioned weather conditions seem to have been the largest issue, because the areas not affected by the harshest of this weather still enjoyed increases in jobs numbers, the report said. Meanwhile, states like Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and more suffered drops of varying degrees thanks to blizzards and other storms that hit them in January and February.
Small business owners hoping to preserve their bottom lines might want to consider how they can simply reduce expenses. For instance, finding more affordable small business insurance policies, such as those for professional liability insurance, could end up saving companies thousands of dollars per year.