Technology, as opposed to new hiring, is driving much of the growth at small businesses, with 72 percent of small businesses doing more business online than they did a year ago, according to a survey by payroll service provider SurePayroll.

The July 2013 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard found that optimism among small business owners remains high at 72 percent, up from a year-over-year low of 45 percent in September 2012. Month-over-month hiring was down 0.1 percent in July and the average paycheck was down 0.2 percent.

As many as 84 percent of the small business owners polled said that using new tools such as their company Web sites, online advertising and Software as a Service providers to streamline business has helped them grow. 

“Technology seems to be driving this jobless recovery in the small business economy,” said SurePayroll president and CEO Michael Alter in a statement. “We’ve seen this trend for a while now, and our data this month really supports the idea that small businesses are leveraging technology to be more efficient, and so they’re able to grow without hiring.”  

The survey also found that 73 percent of small businesses use the company Web site to sell products or services, 42 percent are using online advertising and 27 percent are using tablets to showcase products. More than 60 percent are using social media as well as online services to streamline business.

Seventy-seven percent said the company Web site is effective for selling and 64 percent found the smartphone to be an effective tool. 

Hiring was down month over month in every region of the country except for the South, where it was up 0.1. Paychecks were flat month over month in the South and down across the rest of the country.

Year over year, nationwide hiring is down 1.7 percent and paychecks are down 0.1 percent. Year over year, the South is the only region where hiring is up at 1.5 percent and paychecks there are down 0.1 percent. The West shows a hiring decline of 3.2 percent, with paychecks down 0.7 percent. Hiring in the Midwest is down 3.0 percent and paychecks are positive, up 3.6 percent. In the Northeast, hiring is down 3.9 percent and paychecks are down 2.3 percent.

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