Many small businesses plan to cut their payrolls in the coming months, The New York Times
reports, citing a monthly survey of the National Federation of Independent Businesses that showed a downturn in hiring prospects. The federation’s May report is another sign that the national economic recovery is flagging.
For the first time since September, the survey found that the percentage of businesses planning to reduce payrolls through layoffs and other means exceeded the percentage planning to hire more workers. The federation survey’s hiring index had been sliding downward all year before falling into negative territory last month.
“Never in the 37-year history of our company have we seen anything at all like this,” said Frank W. Goodnight, president of Diversified Graphics, a North Carolina publishing company. “We’re being squeezed on all sides.”
Small businesses employ half of all private-sector workers in the United States. The survey did find some bright spots, including an increased willingness to hire in the construction, manufacturing, and restaurant sectors.
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