Across the country, the economic recovery has brought significant progress for many small businesses in terms of success and bolstering their bottom lines. As such, current conditions nationwide seem to now be emboldening them to look more positively toward the future as well.
Today, about 87 percent of small business owners nationwide say that they expect the second quarter of the year to be as good as, or even better than, the first, as they look forward to a stabilizing economic picture and the chance to bring on more workers due to continued financial success, according to the latest Small Business Scorecard poll from SurePayroll. Optimism for the small business economy in particular seems to be holding steady these days at about 70 percent, and the fact that there weren’t any significant gains in this regard is actually seen by experts as a good thing, because it suggests a stable environment overall.
That kind of positive feeling tends to lead to more hiring, but it hasn’t happened yet, the report said. There were upticks in both the South and West, where small businesses added new jobs at a rate of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, but on a national level it slipped 0.1 percent overall from February. Moreover, on an annual basis, the only region of the country where there was any uptick in hiring at all was in the South, where it rose 2.2 percent.
Payroll still struggling
While many owners may soon start to hire more workers, the amount of money those employees are being paid is declining, the report said. On a monthly basis alone, the amount of pay per check granted to workers was down 0.3 percent nationally, led by a 0.5 percent drop in the West. But year-over-year, the drop was more severe, as the national number fell 1.1 percent. During that time, only the Midwest saw an uptick in worker compensation, at a 0.5 percent increase. Meanwhile, those in the Northeast saw their pay drop 2.8 percent.
Owners that want to bring on more workers or just improve their financial standing may want to consider the ways in which they can reduce their costs overall so they have greater flexibility to hire in the future. That might include taking the time to assess small business insurance options, including those for commercial insurance coverage, which may currently be costing thousands of dollars per year more than is necessary.