Hiring was up slightly, by 0.04 percent, but paycheck size declined slightly by 0.2 percent, from January to February, according to payroll provider SurePayroll.

On a year-over-year basis, SurePayroll Scorecard data indicated that both hiring and wages were down slightly on both a national and regional basis. Optimism among small business owners remains steady, at 66 percent in February, compared to 65 percent in January.

The SurePayroll Optimism Survey also found that 50 percent of the small business owners surveyed plan to invest in technology in the next six to 12 months to improve efficiency, better manage customer relations, and increase sales. They reported that their technology upgrades will focus on business management, advertising and marketing, and back office infrastructure.

“The small business economy seems to be playing out like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day,” said SurePayroll president and CEO Michael Alter in a statement. “Month-over-month it’s been a looping rerun, but then at the end of the scene there’s a small positive change—a minor uptick in hiring. This at least is a positive sign that a shift may come. Rising gas prices are a looming cliffhanger that could kill our Hollywood ending since every dollar spent at the gas pump could mean a dollar not spent on Main Street. Relief at the pump may be critical to seeing even a slight positive trend continue.”

To view the full scorecard report, visit http://www.surepayroll.com/scorecard/.

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