Friday's encouraging employment report showing that U.S. employers added 257,000 jobs in January follows a recent study that suggests 2015 will be a strong year for small business hiring.
Yes, the days of cutting costs and focusing only on the bottom line may soon be over, as 38 percent of small business owners plan to hire new employees before the end of the year, according to a study from business productivity company Wasp Barcode Technologies.
"The fact that 38 percent are going into the year planning to hire is phenomenal," says Brian Sutter, director of marketing at Wasp Barcode. Among small businesses that plan to increase their headcount this year, 46 percent plan to hire six or more employees, a "huge" development, according to Sutter.
Wasp Barcode's State of Small Business study surveyed more than 1,000 small businesses, 97 percent of which are headquartered in the U.S.
So why are entrepreneurs focusing on hiring now?
Many business owners that have seen revenue growth during the past three years have been waiting for a healthier overall economic environment before adding more staff, according to Sutter.
"Usually in the small business world, hiring is one of the last things they do," he says. "When people talk about small business confidence, if all the factors around them don't seem to be good, they still don't act."
Positive indicators driving small business confidence today include the lower than expected unemployment rate, which stands at 5.6 percent, and projected GDP growth of 3.3 percent this year. Employers added close to three million jobs in 2014, marking the best hiring year in 15 years.
On the flip side, the number of people looking for work is up, too, which is why the U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7 percent in January.