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Survey says: Domestic and European economies prove problematic

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  • | 6:15 a.m. July 11, 2012
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SurePayroll, an online payroll service for small businesses, might want to consider renaming its “optimism survey” to something a little less...optimistic.

That's because the amount of small business owners optimistic about the economy continues to dwindle. The rate in June dropped to 60%, the firm's latest survey reports, down from 64% in May. The rate is also down from 70% in March, and 63% in December 2011.

At least it's not September 2011, when a mere 33% of survey respondents reported being optimistic about the economy. Glenview, Ill.-based SurePayroll is a subsidiary of Paychex, a publicly traded payroll, human resources and benefits outsourcing firm.

“While optimism remains relatively high, small business owners seem somewhat reluctant to hire right now because of some dark clouds on the horizon,” SurePayroll CEO and President Michael Alter says in a release. “Existing employees are producing more and working longer hours. It's impressive that small businesses have done more with less, but the economic climate has made it difficult to have job growth.”

Other findings from the survey include:
• Both the hiring rate and the average paycheck size fell 0.2% in the Tampa area from May to June. The annual hiring index in the area year-over-year for June was up 2.1%, while the paycheck size fell 4.8%.
• When broken up by region, the South, which spreads from Texas to Virginia to Florida in the survey, was the only sector with an annual rise in hiring and average paycheck size. The hiring index in the South was up 1.4%, while the pay-per-check rate increased 0.5%. The other regions — Midwest, Northeast and West — had decreases in both categories;
• Eight out of 10 survey respondents reported concern over financial turmoil in Europe.


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