eWeek (02/08/12) Nathan Eddy
The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey for Jan. 9-13 indicates that small business optimism has hit its highest level since July 2008. The index rose to positive 15 from minus three in October, and its measure of future expectations climbed 13 points from October to 21. Of the small business owners polled, 22% plan to hire new employees during the next 12 months, while just 8% plan to eliminate employees. The hiring/firing differential was 14 percentage points, marking a four-year high.
The survey shows that 52% of small business owners hired workers during the past 12 months. While 65% hired as many workers as needed, up from 48% in November, 29% hired fewer than needed, down from 42%. About 15% are seeking new workers, but 21% find it difficult and 32% somewhat difficult to find qualified workers.