Small business hiring was down 0.5 percent and the size of the average paycheck rose 0.2 percent in the Puget Sound area in February, according to online payroll firm SurePayroll.
The company released the figures Thursday as part of its monthly Small Business Scorecard.
Nationwide, according to the survey, hiring was down 0.1 percent and the average paycheck up 0.1 percent. Small-business owners’ optimism is level at 59 percent, two points higher than last month.
“We continue to see low optimism numbers due to a new wave of uncertainty for small-business owners,” said company CEO and President Michael Alter. “We thought we were moving past the uncertainty when we got through the fiscal cliff situation; however we’re getting hit with another wave.”
The survey also asked small business owners about a proposal to raise the proposed national minimum wage to $9.00 per hour. “Most (79 percent) said such an increase would not impact their plans to hire and 58 percent support the increase. However, 71 percent said it should be set by the states and 77 percent said they already pay their employees more than the minimum wage,” the company said in a release.
At $9.19 per hour, Washington employers already pay a minimum wage above the proposed figure.The majority of states now allow for the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, while some – including second-highest Oregon, at $8.95 per hour – require more.