Entering my fifth month with BizEngine, I’ve come to the point where I can safely predict a handful of things.
I will, for example, fail to get to the coffee before the pot has been drained. Small businesses will struggle to get access to lending and working capital. And despite the occasional burst of encouraging news, small business hiring will go absolutely nowhere.
It’s the last one I want to touch upon this morning. I’ve been saying for a long time now that a larger economic recovery is the only thing that’s going to drive hiring back up, and month after month, that’s been born out. The National Federation of Independent Businesses confirms that hypothesis in their latest report, which says only 9 percent of businesses hired new employees last month:
“New jobs are not to be found on Main Street. For small firms, reported job losses per firm declined sharply in June as did the net percent of firms that increased employment over the last 3 months. A seasonally adjusted net negative 7 percent of owners increased employment, a 4 point decrease from May.
“Seasonally adjusted, 9 percent of owners hired new employees last month, a 1 point decline from May, while 16 percent reduced employment, a 3 point increase. The remaining 75 percent of owners made no change in employment. Manufacturing was the only winning sector to post average positive net growth; but job losses were posted by firms in financial, non-professional services, construction, negating any gains made.
It gets better. Whether it’s because they’re doing more with less or it’s a full-blown worker culture shift, the Blessing White annual report on employee engagement shows that only 31 percent of workers are engaged, while a full 17 percent consider themselves totally disengaged and disinterested in their work. Unfortunately, pairing businesses reluctant or unable to hire new workers with a fractured workforce and an economic recovery doesn’t bring immediately to mind.
The NFIB goes on to say that July looks brighter, at least. You’ll forgive me if I’m entering the month with a bit of skepticism, given the way these forecasts have worked out in the past. One can only hope that at some point very soon, the tires will stop squealing and there will be some forward momentum.
But maybe things are better on your end. Have you hired this year, or do you plan to? Let us know via the comments.