Small business hiring in December hit its highest level in almost eight years, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, even though three-quarters of employers surveyed reported no change in employment.
Fourteen percent of business owners added an average of 3.4 workers per firm through December but 10 percent indicated cutting employment by an average of 1.8 workers. Overall, small businesses added 0.24 workers per firm.
“Job creation is slowly moving in a positive direction,” NFIB chief economist William C. Dunkelberg said.
Still, at least one familiar obstacle remained: Of firms that indicated they had hired or tried to hire in the last quarter of 2013, about 40 percent said they found “few or no qualified applicants” for openings.
A statement issued ahead of the small business advocacy group’s monthly economic survey, due out Jan. 14, stated small business owners hired more workers in December than they had indicated in the previous month’s survey.