The latest SurePayroll numbers on hiring and wages at the nation's small businesses show that the upcoming presidential election is wearing down confidence across the board. Only 45 percent of those surveyed said they were optimistic, down from 60 percent in June. SurePayroll says 20 of the country's largest cities saw small-biz hiring fall last month — Nashville was one of them — while only 11 posted gains. Here's a full city-by-city rundown.
The National Federation of Independent Business says only five percent of the members it surveyed last month think now is a good time to expand. The association's index has averaged a score of 90 since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. That's 10 points below its 1973-2008 average and the lowest ever coming out of a downturn.
Still waiting for America's small businesses to charge their way out of recession and drive strong GDP growth? Don't hold your breath, says NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg, whose team's monthly sentiment survey showed only the slightest of gains and are below year-ago levels.
The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a negative 3 percent, 5 points better than December but still 13 percentage points below last year’s reading. Not seasonally adjusted, 18 percent expect deterioration (down 4 points), and 22 percent expect improvement (up 7 points). A net 10 percent of all owners expect improved real sales volumes.
The small-business hiring and compensation index run by Paychex division SurePayroll puts Nashville in some good company when it comes to 2011 paycheck growth. Only seven of the nation's largest cities have seen small-business salaries rise faster year to date than Nashville's 3.8 percent. Music City also is one of just nine markets where both paychecks and employment levels have grown in 2011.
The latest survey of small-company owners by the National Federation of Independent Business shows a small improvement in a number of key indicators, but not enough to turn the overall tide.
The key to economic recovery is restoring the confidence of consumers; only then will small businesses begin to see the sales they need to expand. If consumers fear the path we are on, then ‘less is more’ policies that reduce the size of government will increase confidence.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses is warning members that they could be audited to determine if they've hired illegal immigrants.
WPLN reports that 30 Tennessee businesses were audited by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year, most of them government contractors. But a spokeswoman for the NFIB in Tennessee said the scope and timing of the investigations this year are unknown. Click here for the full story.
Those are the two words NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg used last week to sum up the state of small-business hiring. Only one in six small companies — traditionally an engine for post-recession employment growth — plans to add jobs in the next six months.
The state's largest small-business association went on the record yesterday about the rise in gasoline prices, saying Tennessee's Congressional delegation should support legislation to restart and expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling and improve the supply-demand equation.
Jim Brown, Tennessee state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said the $1.01 year-over-year increase in the price of a gallon of gas is " taking a big toll on small businesses."
“Small businesses operate on thin profit margins even in the best of times, and these aren’t the best of times,” he said.
“If you’re a small business owner, you’re paying more for supplies and inventory and more on transportation,” Brown said. “You have a choice: Jack up prices and risk driving your customers away, or absorb the increase and lose money […] A dependable source of affordable oil would help our businesses grow and create jobs and finally put this recession in our rearview mirrors.”
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey wants small business owners and managers to tee off on government bureaucrats making "ridiculous" decisions and says he will use his office to push for changes that will make Tennessee a better place for creating jobs and doing business.
Ramsey has a clutch of stories drawn from his own career as a small businessman – like the time in the 1980s when he went to Nashville and spent two days hand-carrying his application for a real estate license though state government offices in order to be able to start his career as an auctioneer.