I'm pleased to report that small-business optimism is on the rise. Based on a recent survey we conducted, 79 percent of business owners indicated they are optimistic about the economy, up from 73 percent in the prior month.

In another sign that bodes well for economic recovery, we are seeing increased hiring in the small-business economy. Small-business hiring was up 0.7 percent in the second quarter, a slight slowdown from the first quarter, when we saw a hiring increase of 0.8 percent.

Part of that continued hiring is fueled by increased reliance on independent contractors, which is evident in our payroll data. In addition, business owners are able to hire because salaries for workers have dropped. In fact, our data suggests that small-business salaries declined 2.5 percent in the second quarter.

For the full report, visit www.surepayroll.com/scorecard.