The economy has been improving slowly but surely over the last several years, and more recently, that has started to facilitate more activity in terms of small business hiring. That trend certainly continued in March, though perhaps not to the extent that some experts would have liked.
Across the country, small businesses added about 15,000 jobs last month, up 0.07 percent from a month earlier, and continuing a run of about three and a half a years in which this kind of hiring has ticked up every month, according to the latest Intuit U.S. Small Business Employment Index. Since March 2010, the sector has added about 895,000 jobs overall. However, there may still be some cause for concern on a monthly basis, because employees of these companies worked fewer hours and took home less salary than they did in February.
“We see some softness in small business employment – fewer hourly people working full time, a decline in hours worked, and a decline in the hiring rate, despite a rise in the hourly wage and overall, a rise in employment,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who works with Intuit to produce the Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes. “While the figures are adjusted for the seasons, they are not adjusted for unusual weather, so some of the softness may be the result of an unusually cold and snowy winter in the East and Midwest.”
Getting into specifics
To be fair, the average worker only saw their month pay decline 0.16 percent, the report said. That’s a drop of $4.30 over the course of March, and average salaries still came in at $2,760. This can probably be explained through the fact that employees worked 107.4 hours on average during the month, a figure that was down 23 minutes from February’s number. Unfortunately for those workers, it was the eighth month in a row in which hours declined, and fifth in which pay dropped.
Owners who want to put their companies in a position to succeed financially so that they can bring aboard more workers, and pay current employees more, might want to consider the benefits of cutting costs in other ways. That could include finding more affordable small business insurance coverage, including policies for errors and omissions insurance, to potentially free up thousands of dollars annually.