Buffalo Grove, Ill. (Sept. 8, 2004) -- Most small businesses expect staff size to remain stable or grow during the fourth quarter, according to a survey of more than 170 small businesses by the International Profit Associates Small Business Research Board.

More than one-third (36 percent) of small business owners responding to the IPA SBRB study said that they planned to hire more staff during the remainder of 2004. By comparison, only 6 percent expect to reduce staff and 58 percent of respondents expect employment to hold steady.

Small business owners' expectations parallel those of larger businesses polled recently by The Business Roundtable, an association of U.S. chief executive officers, which reported that 40 percent of large company CEOs expect their companies to add jobs in the coming months, while 48 percent expect hiring to remain flat and 12 percent may reduce staff.

While fewer small businesses are adding staff than large companies, more large companies are reducing staff size compared to small businesses, Gregg Steinberg, IPA president, noted. "We clearly see small business job growth lagging behind that of big business, and small businesses are typically the first to hire in a job market rebound. In my judgment this creates a cautious outlook for the coming months, and does not necessarily reflect an economy primed for robust growth," said Steinberg.

-- WebCPA staff

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