CBIZ reported increased hiring in March, with its Small Business Employment Index rising by 0.69 percent, compared to an increase of 0.25 percent in February.

The index represents hiring trends among companies with 300 or fewer employees using CBIZ Payroll Services.

“This month showed a continuing positive trend in small business employment levels,” said CBIZ Payroll Services business unit president Philip Noftsinger in a statement. “This data, combined with other recently released reports showing positive growth, sends a strong signal that, although slow, there is reason to be positive about a labor market recovery in the near term.”

The CBIZ data shows that 25.8 percent of the companies surveyed increased payroll, while 53 percent maintained headcount, and 21.2 percent of companies in the index decreased their employee count.

“Following the positive readings of the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] data on Friday, we see the uptrend in the small business hiring as a sign of good things to come as business owner hiring confidence continues to climb,” said Noftsinger.