The labor market in the U.S. has been slow to recover from the depths of the recession. Nonetheless, the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.9 percent from 9.8 percent in November, and U.S. small business owners said they plan to hire an additional 3.8 million workers this year, according to a recently published report.
This week, the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business released its latest Small Business Success Index, which asks small business owners to measure the overall health of their businesses. When asked what their hiring plans for 2011 are, 28 percent of respondents affirmed they expect to increase staffing by an average of two full-time employees; only 2 percent of those polled said they intended to cut staff during the year.
Small businesses historically are the main route by which the U.S. labor market recovers from an economic contraction. According to experts, if small business owners add the workers they said they intend to, it could lower the unemployment rate by 2.4 percentage points.
Nonetheless, small business owners assert they still face challenges in accessing capital; overall, they business owners had an average optimism rating of "C-," or a composite score of 73, highlighting the challenges many businesses still face.