According to the latest iteration of the Intuit Small Business Employment Index, employment at small enterprises with fewer than 20 employees rose by 0.2 percent between January 24 and February 23.

The figure equates to an annual growth rate of 2.9 percent and around 45,000 new jobs among the approximately 73,000 small business employers surveyed. Average monthly compensation also saw a slight rise, with workers taking home an average of $2,686 – that's $4 (0.15 percent) more than January's total. However, the number of monthly hours worked by hourly employees decreased slightly from 108.6 hours to 108.5 hours, a difference of six minutes (0.04 percent).

Susan Woodward, the economist who collaborated with Intuit on the index's creation, characterized the figures as "tepid improvement."

"The low hiring rate reflects the reluctance of employees to leave their jobs in such an unsecure job market, so employers do not need to hire to replace them," she said in a statement, noting that this phenomenon can be seen across companies of all sizes and is not exclusive to smaller enterprises.

From a geographic perspective, New England saw the highest positive change in employment (0.15 percent), followed by the Middle Atlantic (0.11 percent) and the Mountain area (0.6 percent). The East North Central region was the only area to see a decrease in employment during the time period.

Broken down by state, small businesses in Arizona saw the most significant hiring uptick of 1 percent, followed by Washington at 0.8 percent. Oregon and Pennsylvania fared worst, with decreases of 0.18 percent and 0.16 percent, respectively.

"Interestingly, the biggest gains were seen in the states that have suffered most from the recession – the majority of the western states, plus Florida," Woodward noted.

At a time when many companies are beginning to rebuild and move forward in the wake of the recession, entrepreneurs like you may elect to look into securing commercial loans or seek financial tips from community bank representatives. Although the economic situation is beginning to look rosier for some businesses, chances are you'll still need financial help if you want to turn your expansion dreams into a reality, benefiting not only your business but the economy at large.