U.S. small business hiring takes step back in April

WASHINGTON Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:57am EDT

Job seekers wait in front of the training offices of Local Union 46, the union representing metallic lathers and reinforcing ironworkers, in the Queens borough of New York, April 29, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Job seekers wait in front of the training offices of Local Union 46, the union representing metallic lathers and reinforcing ironworkers, in the Queens borough of New York, April 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Keith Bedford

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. small business hiring slowed considerably in the April and employees saw a reduction in their hours, an independent survey showed on Monday, adding to signs of weakening in labor market conditions.

Businesses added 40,000 new jobs, a step back from the 75,000 positions created in March, according to Intuit, a payrolls processing firm. The average workweek for small business employees dipped 0.14 percent.

The pull back in hiring by small businesses is the latest indication that job growth is losing some momentum. Nonfarm employment increased 120,000 in March, the least amount in five months, with the jobless rate dropping to 8.2 percent -- largely as some unemployed people gave up the search for work.

The weak payrolls number last month was largely seen as payback after an abnormally warm winter. Payroll growth had averaged 246,000 a month between December and February.

The government's closely monitored employment report due on Friday is expected to show that payrolls increased 170,000 in April, according to a Reuters survey.

But with first-time applications for state unemployment benefits not backing away from the lofty levels scaled in recent weeks, this forecast could prove somewhat too optimistic.

The Intuit survey is based on responses from about 72,000 small businesses with fewer than 20 employees that use the Intuit Online Payroll system. It covered the period from March 24 to April 23.

The survey showed wages for small business employees edged up 0.1 percent or $3 to $2,680. However, that is equivalent to an annual salary of $33,200, meaning that many of the small business employees are working part-time.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Bernard Orr)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Jeepgirl wrote:
This situation is getting worse. It is global. The local U.S.A. economy seems to be starting a downhill spiral that will take years to rectify. Exactly how to get more into the workforce will be the most difficult. It appears that almost everything except for homes is exported from China.

We will probably have many rolling total electrical blackouts since Obama has had the coal fired plants shut down by the EPA. It would have made more sense to invest in helping those companies clean up the process than close the plants costing all sorts of jobs from coal mining to transportation to instrumentation.

I believe in the EPA in doing what is right, but if money is being printed, it should be to assist the existing plants to go greener. Having the EPA just shut plants down is not the right ansower. Assisting in renovation is the answer.

I do not know how much is Obama, his Czars, or Congress as a whole any more that are to blame. Mr. President Obama has yet to really put out a decent budget. He may be well college educated, but I do not believe he can see the total macro-economic picture.

We need more production in this country from metals like aluminum and steel, rare earth material and the companies with the knowledge to actually build these on an econmical business.

In my honest opinion, neihter Mr. President Obama or Mitt Romney are good for this country. The closest thing we have to a president that has been in the real world with the common class of people is Ron Paul. He may have some radical ideass about letting other countries take care of thier own problems, but he seems to make sense about reduced government and taking care of the U.S.A.

Apr 30, 2012 2:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jeepgirl, you are right that Ron Paul seems to be the only current politician that has a true understanding of average Americans. However, the GOP and the media only seem interested in endorsing Romney, which leaves the door wide open for President Obama to be re-elected. Why the GOP has orchestrated their campaign this way is beyond my laymen’s understanding. While Ron Paul may have a few quirky ideas (as do other candidates), his practical ideas are completely ignored so the political agenda can be carried out as planned.

Apr 30, 2012 12:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.