SurePayroll found month-over-month hiring fell slightly by 0.1 percent at small businesses in November while the average paycheck size remained essentially the same.

Small business owners' optimism was 60 percent on the SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, down eight points from the previous month.

SurePayroll asked small business owners across the country if, with the election settled, they felt more certainty about the government's ability to avoid the fiscal cliff, and 61 percent responded no.

“The sense, I think, many small business owners have right now is that the government is either stalled or making only short term decisions, rather than providing direction and leadership for the future,” said SurePayroll CEO and president Michael Alter in a statement. “As business owners, they understand that sometimes you have to think short term, but not at the cost of a long-term solution. Until they see a more forward-thinking plan, they may continue to exercise caution.”

Hiring was down month-over-month in every region of the country except for the South, where it was up 0.1 percent. Paychecks were up month-over-month in the Midwest (0.3 percent) and South (0.1 percent), and down across the rest of the country.

Year-over-year, nationwide hiring is down only 1.4 percent, while paychecks are down 1.3 percent. The South continues to show promising signs with hiring up 1.4 percent and paychecks down 0.7 percent. The West has had the steepest hiring decline at -4.9 percent, with paychecks down 0.8 percent. Hiring in the Midwest is down 2.1 percent and paychecks are up 1.3 percent. In the Northeast, hiring is down 1.7 percent and paychecks are down 4.8 percent.

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