Small Businesses Ramp Up Hiring Plans

A small but growing number of U.S. small business owners expect job growth to pick up in the next three months as they see the economy inching toward health in the second half, a survey released on Thursday showed.


A growing number of firms plan to expand their payrolls: a net 5 percent of those polled in June, up 3 points from May, the National Federation of Independent Business said in its survey released just ahead of key U.S. payrolls data for June.

"Because the economy has grown a little bit better than everybody expected, the customers haven't declined as much as they thought they would and the bad news isn't as bad in reality as they read and hear, they need a few people," William Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB, told Reuters.

"So having thought things were going to be really bad but then they turned out not to be they over-adjusted," Dunkelberg said. "In the third and fourth quarter it will be better, unless the facts on the street disabuse them of that notion."

Job growth plans were the strongest among firms in states west of the Mississippi, and in the professional services, manufacturing and construction sectors.

For the month of June, the NFIB said 47 percent of small business owners hired or tried to hire, up 4 points from May.

The results are based on 703 respondents to the June survey of 3,938 firms polled through June 30.

Full details from the June survey, which the NFIB uses to construct an index to measure small business optimism, are due for release on July 8.

In a Labor Department report to be released on Thursday, economists polled by Reuters expect the U.S. economy to have shed 60,000 jobs outside the farm sector in June compared to a loss of 49,000 jobs in May.