SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®: Is Cold Weather Also Causing a Hiring Freeze?

SurePayroll Inc., a leader in providing online payroll to small businesses nationwide, today announced results for the February 2014 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard® and survey, which shows optimism slightly up amid a frozen hiring picture matching the unusually bitter cold weather we’ve seen throughout much of the country.

Optimism about the small business economy was at 69 percent, according to the Scorecard survey, up four percent from January. Month over month, hiring and the average paycheck were each down 0.1 percent, and one in three small business owners said the severe weather was responsible for a slowdown. However, the lack of hiring seems to go deeper than that, as three in five said the cost of salary and wages is still the biggest barrier to bringing on new staff.

“The delay in hiring may be more than just an inclement weather delay,” said SurePayroll CEO and President Michael Alter. “Yes, it’s been a harsh winter, but we’ve had them before. The underlying problem could be that there isn’t enough demand to justify new employees. While we may not be surprised based on our numbers and weak government jobs reports over the last couple months our small business customers continue to hold to their optimistic entrepreneurial spirit.”

The Scorecard survey also found that one in three are having trouble finding qualified candidates for jobs. If cost were not an issue and they were to hire, small business owners ranked the need for sales and marketing personnel as their top choices.

“It’s an unfortunate Catch-22 when you consider that small businesses can’t afford to hire sales and marketing people, yet these are the types of positions that drive revenue,” Alter said.

Hiring in the South was up 0.1 percent month over month; down 0.2 percent in the Midwest; 0.4 percent in the Northeast; and flat in the West. The average paycheck was down 0.3 percent in the Northeast and South, and up 0.2 percent in the Midwest and 0.1 percent in the West.

As the first economic indicator created by a payroll company, the SurePayroll Scorecard has provided a monthly look at national hiring and paycheck trends since October 2004. SurePayroll’s Scorecard compiles data from small businesses nationwide, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with1-10 employees.  The average business reflected has six employees.

The full SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard – Main Street Matters infographic includes data for SurePayroll’s top MSAs. The February2014 Scorecard is available now on the SurePayroll blog.

About SurePayroll

SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. Whether a business has 1, 10, or 100 employees, SurePayroll delivers peace of mind by combining innovative, industry-leading technology and personalized support from an award-winning, U.S.-based customer care team. SurePayroll also provides private-label and co-branded services for accountants and banking partners as well as offering efficient online solutions for managing 401(k) plans, health insurance, workers’ compensation, employee screening and more. SurePayroll is a wholly owned subsidiary of Paychex. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter – Circle us on Google+ – Connect with us on LinkedIn – Like us on Facebook.

About Paychex

Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX) is a leading provider of payroll, human resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses. The company offers comprehensive payroll services, including payroll processing, payroll tax administration, and employee pay services, including direct deposit, check signing, and Readychex®. Human resource services include 401(k) plan recordkeeping, section 125 plans, a professional employer organization, time and attendance solutions, and other administrative services for business. A variety of business insurance products, including group health and workers’ compensation, are made available through Paychex Insurance Agency, Inc. Paychex was founded in 1971. With headquarters in Rochester, New York, the company has more than 100 offices serving approximately 570,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2014. For more information about Paychex and our products, visit