In February 2011, more microbusiness owners were planning to hire than were planning to lay people off. The Discover Card Small Business Watch , a monthly survey of owners of businesses with 1 to 5 employees, found that 3% more business owners were planning to hire than to cut staff when asked about their employment plans last month.
Whether this proves to be a lasting trend or not remains an open question. Back in June 2010 four percent more microbusinesses were planning to add rather than drop employees, but the pattern then reversed itself for several months. In fact, the six month moving average of this measure –- the thin black line in the chart below –- has deteriorated after improving several times since the Great Recession began.
Microbusiness Hiring Plans (Aug 2006 to Feb 2011)
Click for larger chart