3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Feb. 8

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

1. Retailers report strong January sales despite rise in payroll tax. U.S. chain-store retailers sizzled in January, seeing sales growth of 4.5% compared to 2012, according to Blue MauMau, a franchise-specific blog.

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) said last month's sales were the strongest since September 2011, which had growth of 5.5%.

One factor contributing to the uptick in sales was the strong end-of-season bargain-hunting at department and apparel stores, the article says.

2. Bill reintroduced to end medical-device tax. A bipartisan group of 180 House members has reintroduced a bill to end the 2.3% tax on medical devices that was imposed under President Obama's health-care law, according to TheHill.com.

According to the website, the law took effect last month and is expected to raise $30 billion in tax revenue for the government over 10 years. Opponents say the law will "hinder innovation and job creation in the medical device industry," the article says.

"Placing a new tax on the backs of U.S. medical innovators and entrepreneurs who employ more than 400,000 Americans is not a prescription for economic growth or job creation," the website cited Rep. Erik Paulsen (R, Minn.), who sponsored the bill, as saying. "In fact, companies have already laid off thousands of employees as a result of this onerous new tax, and more jobs will be lost now that this tax is in effect."

3. Restaurant industry job growth hits 17-year high. The restaurant industry added jobs at double the rate of the overall economy in 2012. An industry trade association expects that trend to continue this year, according to QSR Magazine.

An analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics by the National Restaurant Association showed that jobs at eating-and-drinking establishments rose 3.4% last year, the article says. The association expects restaurant jobs to climb 2.7% in 2013, a full percentage-point above the projected 1.7% gain in total employment, the article says.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

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