U.S. small businesses report more staff cuts -NFIB

WASHINGTON Thu Aug 2, 2012 3:57pm EDT

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WASHINGTON Aug 2 (Reuters) - U.S. small businesses in July reported cuts to their staff for a second straight month, the National Federation of Independent Business said on Thursday in the latest sign the economy has lost a step.

A survey by the NFIB of 1,803 small businesses found a 0.04 seasonally adjusted average change in employment per firm in the three months through July. In June, the reading showed a 0.11 decline in workers per firm.

"Overall, there was no meaningful job creation," said NFIB economist William Dunkelberg.

Still, employers see more hiring in the future. The survey, which was announced ahead of Friday's U.S. payrolls data for July, found a net 5 percent of small businesses plan to create jobs, up from 3 percent in the prior month.

The Labor Department payrolls data, due for release at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), is expected to show U.S. employers created 100,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after generating 80,000 positions in June.

Economists expect the U.S. jobless rate to hold at 8.2 percent in July.

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