SurePayroll found that optimism among small business owners jumped 20 percentage points to 53 percent in October from 33 percent in September, according to the payroll service provider’s latest monthly report.

Small business hiring nationwide fell a tenth of a percent last month, although hiring increased in some metropolitan areas. In New York City, for example, hiring was up 0.9 percent year-to-date, although paycheck sizes fell 3.1 percent year-to-date.

Fifty-one percent of small business owners reported that the most critical issues related to job growth are balancing the budget, reducing the deficit and stabilizing the housing market.    Forty-five percent think some kind of flat tax would have a positive impact on hiring, and 44 percent think a flat tax would have no impact on hiring and roughly 11 percent thought it could have a negative impact on hiring.

“Optimism is like the fuel that drives small business. With small business optimism taking such a strong upswing, we can be hopeful that hiring and wage trends may follow,” said SurePayroll president Michael Alter in a statement. “While hiring is down, a closer look at the numbers shows the decline is slowing. And while wages appear flat, they are in fact up just a bit from this time last year.  That coupled with rising optimism makes me think next month may be even brighter for small business.”

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