More Small Firms Indicate Hiring Plans

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PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 8 (UPI) — U.S. small business owners are expressing more optimism about hiring than they have since January 2008, a Gallup poll indicates.

In a survey conducted Jan. 9-13, 22 percent of small business owners said they were likely to take on new employees this year, while 8 percent indicated they were unlikely to do so, Gallup said Wednesday.

The 14 percentage-point advantage for expected job growth is the most positive differential in slightly more than four years, the polling company said.

The survey, which is taken quarterly, includes responses from 600 small business owners.

The plus 14 “hiring-intentions advantage” is a sharp increase over the plus 2-point differential in October and a plus 4-point differential in July, Gallup said.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department said the number of U.S. job openings had risen to the highest figure in three years, with 3.4 million job listings available at the end of December.

Gallup said the results of its survey, which tracks the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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