If the job market doesn't turn around soon, many recently laid-off workers are prepared to take matters into their own hands. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, more than a quarter of workers laid off in the past six months said they are considering starting a business of their own.

The survey of nearly 4,500 workers also revealed that 96 percent of those who started their own small business in the last year have another job besides their start-up. A sample of the businesses ranged from bakeries and board game design to scented candles and sports camps for kids.

"The intellectual capital that companies were forced to lay off over the last 18-24 months was substantial and it is not surprising that many individuals are using their business skills to create their own opportunities," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, in a press release.

The same survey – which also included some 1,400 hiring managers – showed many small businesses plan to hire new employees during the second half of 2010.

Nearly a third of small businesses with 500 employees or fewer are planning to add to their staff before the end of the year. Twenty-one percent plan to add full-time positions and 11 percent expect to add part-time help. Another 6 percent will bring on private contractors.

Among small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, nearly a quarter (24 percent) plan to hire in the second half of 2010.

Small businesses have accounted for 64 percent of new jobs in the U.S. over the past 15 years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small firms currently employ more than half the country's entire workforce, says the SBA.

Small business hiring can be seen as a sign of economic recovery. Meanwhile, a separate – and global – study shows small business confidence around the world is rising. What HSBC calls the "index of confidence" at small and medium-sized businesses in 21 markets rose to 118 in the second quarter from 111 in the fourth quarter of 2009. In North America specifically, the index jumped from 107 to 119.