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Jobs Numbers: Mix of Optimism and Skepticism

What is the effect of the 8.6 percent unemployment rate on small business hiring?

Depends on who you ask. While one member of the CNBC.com Small Business Council told Squawk on the Street this morning that it would have little effect going forward, another said that he is already ramping up hiring heading into 2012.

Madelyn Alfano, owner of Maria’s Italian Kitchen, a chain of restaurants in Southern California, said that while she believes the numbers could help consumer confidence, “it’s a built of a false number in terms of jobs. The large department stores are hiring for the holiday season, which is boosting unemployment.”

As far as hiring for her restaurants, she said, “For us, it’s pretty steady, people come and people go,” she said, but she’s not expecting to increase her numbers anytime soon.

However Joseph Dutra, president of Kimmie Candy Company, said he’s already started hiring in preparation for next year. “We’re optimistic and looking to increase employees,” he said. “We’ve hired a couple of interns, and we’re looking to hire a couple more factory workers,” he said.

He said other businesses in Reno, Nev., where Kimmie Candy is based, are also looking to hire in 2012, but are finding that people do not have the skills needed to do the jobs required.

“They are looking at working with local universities to get the education base of unemployed people up so they can be hired,” said Dutra.

Alfano, for her part, believes that immigrant reform programs will help small business with hiring. “I know it sounds counter-intuitive, since we are trying to get Americans back to work,” she said. “But there went’ many people form the unemployment line that came to take the jobs in our business.”



email: patricia.orsini@nbcuni.com

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