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Small Business

Small Businesses Added a Million Workers in 2014 — and They’re Not Slowing Down

Small businesses added more than 100,000 workers in December, the second time they have eclipsed the six-digit mark in the last three months. (Justin Sullivan/GETTY IMAGES)

Nation’s smallest employers continued to lead the recovery in December.

Small businesses closed out the year with another strong month of hiring activity, a sign that the recovery on Main Street may finally be hitting its stride as we head into 2015.

Small employers added 106,000 workers to their collective payrolls in December, according to the latest round of data issued by payroll processing firm ADP. That’s up from 99,000 added the month before and the fourth consecutive month of employment growth exceeding 90,000.

Over the year, small businesses added more than 1 million employees, averaging monthly additions of 90,000 workers — up from last year’s pace of about 80,000 per month.

The broader economy sustained its recent momentum last month, too, with employers of all sizes adding 241,000 jobs in December, according to the report released Wednesday.

“Small businesses continued to lead the way, but mid-sized and large companies also showed solid gains,” Carlos Rodriguez, ADP’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, added that the economy is on now pace to reach what’s regarded as full employment by the start of next year.

More specifically, it was slightly larger small businesses that led the way last month, with those employing between 20 and 50 workers adding 60,000 positions — the highest monthly total for that subset in 2014. Companies with fewer than 20 employees added 46,000 jobs.

Goods-producing small businesses also posted their strongest showing of the year during the final month, adding 12,000 workers. However, in keeping with a pattern of late, that paled in comparison to service-producing firms, responsible for the remaining 94,000.

The National Federation of Independent Business also released its December small-business employment report on Wednesday, showing that twice as many small companies increased employment (18 percent) last month as decreased employment (9 percent).

A similar report released a day earlier by payroll processing company Intuit showed similar results, with small employers increasing employment by 0.14 percent in December. Wages and revenue inched up, as well.

January 6, 2015

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.

Small Business

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