WASHINGTON U.S. small businesses added jobs in November for the second straight month, bolstering the view that job gains across the economy were robust during the month.
The Nashville-based National Federation of Independent Business said on Thursday that small businesses on average increased their staff by 0.05 workers.
The Labor Department is expected to report on Friday that employers of all sizes added 180,000 workers to their payrolls last month, just below October's pace of job creation but likely enough to lower the unemployment rate by a tenth of a point to 7.2 percent.
Small businesses have lagged gains in the overall job market during the recovery from the 2007-09 recession, but there are signs of improving sentiment.
In November, 51 percent of owners said they hired or tried to hire in the last three months. The NFIB said it was the highest level of hiring activity since October 2007, just before America's recession began.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)