Small-business owners are poised to add more new workers over the next 12 months than at any point since early 2008, a new survey shows.
The small-business data dovetails with Thursday's Labor Department report that shows the number of people seeking, an encouraging sign that strong hiring could continue in the coming months.
The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll found that 22 percent of U.S. small-business owners said they expected to increase the total number of jobs at their companies over the next year. Only 8 percent of those surveyed said they intend to reduce their workforces over the next 12 months.
"This 14-percentage-point advantage for expected job growth is the largest since the +15 of January 2008, suggesting small-business owners are more optimistic about hiring now than at any time in the past four years," writes Dennis Jacobe, Gallup's chief economist, in a new report.
The latest reading on small business hiring intentions is a sharp increase from the 2-point gain seen in October and the 4-point increase posted in July.
"Looking further back, the difference in small-business-owner hiring intentions reached a high of +25 in March 2004 (with 28 percent of small-business owners saying they intended to increase their employee base and 3 percent saying they intended to decrease it), and a low of -4 near the end of 2008 (14 percent increase vs. 18 percent decrease)," Jacobe writes.
See the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, courtesy of Gallup, below:
However, the state of the economy is still making small-business owners cautious in how they intend to bring new workers on to their payrolls. Only 26 percent of small-business owner said they would hire full-time workers, while more than 70 percent said they preferred to add temporary workers, contract workers or part-time employees.
"These are the same hiring preferences owners had in January 2008, when the recession was just getting underway," Gallup's Jacobe says.