As evidence of economic growth strays in all directions, this latest batch isn’t the best news.
According to SurePayroll’s Small Business Scorecard, which looked at the top 35 markets by MSA for July 2011, the economy is headed in reverse.
Nationally, optimism among small businesses is at 47 percent, which down 20 percent. In Chicago, the news is a little better: Hiring is up 1 percent, but paycheck sizes are down 1.4 percent, both year-to-date.
Small-business hiring decreased 10 basis points nationwide from last month – the 10th month in a row of declining or flat hiring – bringing us to a year-to-date decrease of 2.4 percent. Average wages paid by small businesses also slipped, declining 20 points from last month.
For the last several months the economy has been in neutral, but now, “the economy is in reverse,” and turmoil surrounding the debt ceiling certainly played a roll, said Michael Alter, president and CEO of SurePayroll.
Compare Chicago to other large metropolitan statistical areas, and the majority of them are a couple steps behind or worse.
L.A. is still looking to enter the first step of the recovery process, as it continues to shed workers and decrease pay. Hiring in New York is up, but with a large increase of independent contractors typically seen in stage three.
“I feel more optimistic about Chicago than the national economy, that’s for sure,” Alter told Crain’s. “Three months of real hiring growth, with the independent contractor index flat, seems to justify my optimism. Let’s hope this isn’t simply a blip on the radar.”