Winter weather might have caused hiring to slow down

Since the start of the new year, it seems as though many areas of the East Coast and Upper Midwest have been hit with massive winter storms on a regular basis. And while many small business owners have reported that these incidents have cut into their bottom lines, they seem to have had an effect on another area as well: hiring.

While about 70 percent of entrepreneurs remain optimistic about their chances for success going forward, hiring and paychecks were both down 0.1 percent for the month of February, according to the latest Small Business Scorecard from the industry firm SurePayroll. Interestingly, this came even as three in five owners surveyed said that they didn’t see the added salary cost that comes with hiring as a reason not to do so; about one of every three respondents said they couldn’t find qualified candidates. However, it’s important to note that a third of owners surveyed also said that they thought that the winter weather seen throughout February impacted their bottom lines, and 37 percent further noted that they had no plans in place for dealing with any kind of weather emergency.

On a regional level
Again, those parts of the U.S. that have been hit hardest by these winter storms are, perhaps not surprisingly, the ones where hiring has declined most sharply on a monthly basis, the report said. For instance, the Northeast had the largest decline during this period, at 0.4 percent, and paychecks there dropped 0.3 percent. Likewise, the Midwest saw hiring slip 0.2 percent, even as paychecks rose by the same number. The only area in which hiring improved from January was the South, where it climbed just 0.1 percent, while pay dropped 0.3 percent. The West saw no change in hiring rates, but pay went up 0.1 percent.

Finally, it’s also noteworthy that hiring is down 0.6 percent for small businesses from February 2013, and paychecks have dropped 1.2 percent, the report said. This decline, too, was led by the Northeast, where the former declined 2.8 percent, and the latter has slumped 2.7 percent.

Many owners may be worried about their bottom lines at this time, and those who are might want to consider the ways in which reducing costs for small business insurance could save them significantly over time. For instance, finding more affordable errors and omissions insurance coverage could slash their expenses by thousands of dollars annually.