Compared to what the unemployment rate used to be, there have been some substantial improvements to the economy, largely made possible by small business owners whose financial plan has allowed them to hire more. In August, employers helped get the country's financial system back on track a bit further, as employment edged higher, based on newly released statistics from the National Federation of Independent Business.
August served as the 11th consecutive month in which firms added more workers than they lost via job cuts, NFIB reported. However, the gains that were made weren't quite as significant as they've been in the past, said William Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist.
"Small business owners aren't adding much to the job growth statistics," said Dunkelberg. "Seasonally adjusted, 13 percent of the owners (unchanged) reported adding an average of 3.4 workers per firm over the past few months. Offsetting that, 9 percent reduced employment an average of 3.2 workers, producing the seasonally adjusted net gain of 0.02 workers per firm overall."
He noted that the modest uptick is essentially flat, but nonetheless a positive sign that the economy is moving along, albeit at a slow pace. He also stated that the substantial drop off in how many owners have made labor cutbacks is one of the best takeaways of NFIB's latest monthly economic survey.
Many jobs remain unfilled
There's plenty of room for improvement, though, as many of the positions that were open among small business owners weren't filled, Dunkelberg indicated. In fact, more than a quarter of all owners said they still had job openings in August that they weren't able to take care of. Roughly 16 percent of them, however, turned to temporary workers to resolve the situation in the short-term.
As business owners add to their staff levels, they may want to keep in mind the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers who have more than 50 workers to provide employee benefits. Small business owners are exempt from this mandate.
Nevertheless, the ACA is still having an influence on how business owners obtain coverage if they do, in fact, supply employer-provided coverage to the people who work for them. The Wall Street Journal reported several thousand small business owners last year were removed from their plans because of new guidelines from the federal government that define what qualifies business owners as "employers."