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When Will Small Business Optimism Turn to Action?

SurePayroll's Michael Alter predicts how soon increased optimism will translate to a hiring boost.

In recent months SurePayroll, a Glenview, Illinois-based online payroll-service company, has reported an uptick in optimism among the more than 35,000 small businesses whose payroll services it handles.

In late summer and early fall only one in three of its small business clients were positive about the future, a figure it said increased to one in two in November. (Normally, 80 percent of small business owners are optimistic.)

Today the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index also said optimism among small business owners increased in November, the third consecutive month it rose.

So when will this inspiration translate to action?

While the labor department added 120,000 jobs in November, according to government data, reports among small business owners in particular were mixed, and SurePayroll even said small business hiring dropped 0.2 percent. 

In this week's TrendWatch, SurePayroll president and co-founder Michael Alter offers his prediction for how much (or little) time it will take for small business owners to more actively increase their rosters, and their average pay checks.

Watch the video to find out Michael Alter's perspective—as well as the factors he says small business owners are weighing for that to happen. 

In this week's TrendWatch Facts & Figures, some more details about small-business sentiment:

  • In November, the Consumer Confidence Index rose to 56 percent from 40.9 percent, according to the Conference Board. 
  • The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index gained two points to 92.0 in November.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business' owners reported an overall increase in employment of 0.12 workers per firm in November. 



Last updated: Dec 13, 2011

ALLISON FASS | Staff Writer | Deputy Editor,

Allison Fass is deputy editor of A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy.

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