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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Feb. 9

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Small-business hiring expectations hit a four-year high. The latest Wells Fargo (WFC)/ Gallup Small Business Index suggests that expected small-business hiring over the next year is at its highest rate since January 2008. According to the poll, 22% of small-business owners plan to increase the total number of jobs at their companies in the next 12 months.

The news is encouraging, but for now small businesses are being cautious. Of those companies that do plan to hire, 26% plan to add full-time workers, while 72% prefer to hire temporary, contract or part-time workers.

Hiring temporary workers may be cautiousness on the part of the small-business owner, but it also may be a result of the trouble they seem to have in finding qualified workers. More than half claimed as such in the survey, with 21% saying it has had a negative impact on their business.

2. Small-business lending rises in January. Small-business loan approval rates by community banks and nonbank lenders spiked in January to their highest levels in the past 12 months, according to Biz2Credit's monthly Small Business Lending Index. It analyzes roughly 1,000 loan applications on the Biz2credit.com platform connecting borrowers with more than 1,100 lenders nationwide.

Last month, approximately 47.5% of loans at small community banks were approved in January, while credit unions approved 57.6% of loan applications and alternative lenders approved two-thirds of applications. Lending at banks with more than $10 billion in assets also rose, though more modestly to 11.7% from 9.7% in December, Biz2Credit says.

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