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Jobs picture in the small business sector still bleak

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Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

(Read caption) Job seekers wait in line to enter a job fair Sept. 1, 2011 in San Mateo, Calif. Small business sector hires are still low.

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There are some recent reports suggesting that small businesses may be getting in a hiring mood. Not so, says the latest survey of small business owners by the NFIB that is about to be released.
"We wish there was good news to report, says William C. Dunkelberg, chief economist for the NFIB. "But sadly, we will give you more of the same: The prospects for a good jobs report are dim. In August, small-business owners reported job losses averaging .08 workers per firm over the last three months. This follows a loss of .23 workers per firm reported in June and .15 workers per firm in July."
Dunkelberg tries to add a glimmer of hope by adding, "The good news is that the trend is moving in the right direction--losses appear to be decreasing."

However, he goes on to point out that the change doesn't seem to be moving fast enough to close the employment void we've been experiencing for the last several years.
"While the readings remain historically weak, we can find a grain of encouragement as we look at hiring prospects. Over the next three months, 11 percent plan to increase employment (up 1 point), and 12 percent plan to reduce their workforce (also up 1 point), yielding a seasonally adjusted net 5 percent of owners planning to create new jobs, which is a 3 point improvement over July. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves," cautions Dunkelberg.
That is good advice, since we have seen small business owners appear hopeful of future hiring in previous months, only to be disappointed.
So the bottom line is that the employment picture is largely unchanged.


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