WASHINGTON, Sept 4 U.S. small businesses cut
jobs for the fourth straight month in August, the National
Federation of Independent Business said in a report that casts a
shadow over recent signs of strength in the economy.
The Nashville-based small business association said on
Wednesday firms on average reduced their staff by 0.3 workers.
The U.S. economy accelerated sharply in the second quarter
led by a jump in exports, while consumer demand remained
resilient despite this year's tax hikes. A report on Tuesday
showed new orders at America's factories in August grew at their
fastest pace in over two years.
The Labor Department is expected to report on Friday that
employers of all sizes added 180,000 workers to their payrolls
last month, beating July's pace of hiring.
Small businesses, however, appear to be adding workers with
less gusto. Eleven percent of the firms surveyed by the NFIB
reported they cut staff in August, compared to 8 percent who
Still, there were signs of improving sentiment. The NFIB
survey showed job creation plans rose sharply, with a net 16
percent of small firms planning to increase the size of their
staff. That was the highest reading since January 2007.