The average paycheck size rose slightly by 0.6 percent in terms of gross pay in January, according to payroll provider SurePayroll, although employees still lost money in their take-home pay from the expiration of the payroll tax cut.

The company’s January 2013 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard showed month-over-month hiring down 0.1 percent and average paycheck up 0.6 percent, the third consecutive monthly increase in paycheck size. Small-business owners' optimism sits at 57 percent, only two points higher than last month.

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