NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Down in the trenches, small-business hiring is increasingly positive."We see employers of all sizes gearing up their recruiting efforts," says Neil Costa, founder of HireClix, a recruitment marketing firm that focuses on small and medium-sized businesses.
The latest index score rose 16 points from the previous quarter, to 12. This was the second consecutive increase for the index, which calculates the present and expectations from business owners on six measures: financial, cash flow, revenue, capital allocation spending, job hiring and access to credit. Businesses are most optimistic about increased revenue over the coming months, according to Wells Fargo ( WFC). On jobs specifically, 23% of participants said they expect their headcount to increase, up from 18% in the fourth quarter. The number of employers who cut jobs also decreased, to 25% from 30%. The survey is based on telephone interviews with 603 small-business owners. "Small businesses are feeling much better about this economic recovery than they did two quarters ago," says Dr. Scott Anderson, senior economist at Wells Fargo. "It appears the change is driven by healthy gains in demand from consumers and businesses, which are leading to improvements in small businesses' revenue and cash flows."
The National Federation of Independent Business says weak sales remain a concern for business owners, though, according to its own monthly optimism index. The Washington-based organization noted that job creation not only turned negative in December, but deteriorated further last month. The average change in employment per firm over the past three months was down 0.15 employees. "While recent political rhetoric favors small business, it is belied by the actions of policymakers whose new policies and activities almost exclusively support big businesses. While the economy is moving forward, albeit at a snail's pace, it is not nearly fast enough to dramatically improve the unemployment situation, which continues to languish," federation analysts wrote. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To contact the writer of this article, click here: Laurie Kulikowski. To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.