Despite the gloomy employment statistics reported by the Labor Department, payroll processors are still seeing increases in hiring by small businesses.

U.S. small businesses increased their staff levels by 0.42 percent in August, representing the best one-month increase in hiring so far this year, according to statistics released by payroll processor SurePayroll. Another payroll processor, ADP, reported an increase of 20,000 jobs within small businesses, coupled with a larger decrease in midsized and large businesses (see Private Sector Lost 33,000 Jobs in August). The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a decrease of 84,000 in the public and private sectors, with unemployment jumping to 6.1 percent, its highest level in five years.

Year to date, small business hiring is up 2.4 percent nationwide, according to SurePayroll's statistics. Small business owners have been able to hire new employees because salaries dropped by 0.33 percent in August. The average annualized small business salary for a U.S. employee now stands at $32,182.39. Year to date, salaries have declined 1.3 percent.

On a regional basis, the Midwest, Northeast, South and West experienced hiring growth in August. Monthly hiring gains for these regions were 0.8 percent, 1.0 percent, 0.5 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. The Northeast is leading the country in small business growth.

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