SurePayroll found that both hiring and paycheck size declined slightly in May by 0.1 percent.

Despite the slight drop in hiring and average paycheck size, optimism among small business owners is 64 percent, down just slightly from 65 percent in April, but still well above the low of 33 percent reported back in September 2011.

The SurePayroll Optimism survey also found that among the respondents, 50 percent of small business owners are experiencing increased revenue and growth in their businesses, but say productivity is outpacing the need to hire.

“We’re seeing small businesses circling the runway right now. They’re not sure when and where to land,” said SurePayroll CEO and President Michael Alter. “Small businesses have made themselves more efficient through technology during this recovery, which is a good thing for them. However, it creates a holding pattern situation for the economy where increased hiring is not yet necessary.”

Year-over-year, nationwide hiring fell 1.5 percent and paychecks decreased 1.1 percent. The South continues to show promising signs with hiring up 1.7 percent and paychecks up 0.5 percent. The West has experienced the steepest hiring decline at 5.3 percent.

The SurePayroll Scorecard compiles data from over 35,000 small businesses, with an average of eight employees. The full SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, including data for the top 35 metropolitan areas, is available at

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