U.S. small businesses hired the most workers in nearly eight years in December, according to The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Small business owners added an average of .24 workers per firm last month, the most since February 2006. “Job creation is slowly moving in a positive direction,” NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a statement. The NFIB survey of 635 of small business owners throughout the country found that 14 percent added an average of 3.4 workers per firm over the past few months. About 10 percent of businesses reported laying off an average of 1.8 workers. The remaining 76 percent of owners made no net change in employment.
The monthly employment report compiled by payroll services provider ADP found that the private sector added 238,000 jobs in December, with 108,000 of those jobs coming from businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Both of these surveys bode well for Friday’s official jobs report for December from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In November, the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in five years.