Small business owner had an optimistic outlook heading into 2014, and while that hasn’t completely faded, our January 2014 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard suggests we may not be primed for hiring growth.

According to the Scorecard survey, only half of small businesses plan to hire for new positions this year. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t be profitable. In fact, 80 percent said barring a serious downturn, they expect their business to be profitable regardless of the economy’s growth rate. A year ago, it was only 60 percent who felt that way.

If opportunities to grow do come up – or unforeseen setbacks – 45 percent said they have extra cash on hand; 40 percent said while not in debt they don’t have extra cash; and 15 percent said they are operating their business from a position of debt.

Ninety percent of our respondents are from businesses with 1-10 employees, and three in five consider themselves growing. As many as 40 percent ultimately want to grow bigger than 10 employees.

The question is, with only half of these microbusinesses hiring, is it enough to drive the economy forward? To create more jobs? More consumer spending? For the month of January, hiring was down 0.1 percent and the average paycheck was down 0.2 percent. Check out our infographic for more on the small business economy:

November Scorecard

The SurePayroll Hiring and Paychecks Indices

National Results
Month Hiring Index Pay Index
January ’14 11,372 933
December ’13 11,384 935
November ’13 11,390 937
October ’13 11,403 938
September ’13 11,415 938
August ’13 11,414 942
July ’13 11,440 940
June ’13 11,454 942
May ’13 11,469 943
April ’13 11,505 944
March ’13 11,528 944
February ’13 11,550 945
January ’13 11,564 944
Regional Results
Midwest 
Month Hiring Index Pay Index
January ’14 10,583 940
December ’13 10,606 944
November ’13 10,622 945
October ’13 10,640 947
September ’13 10,664 949
August ’13 10,674 954
July ’13 10,709 954
June ’13 10,735 955
May ’13 10,763 954
April ’13 10,825 954
March ’13 10,871 951
February ’13 10,909 948
January ’13 10,932 945
Northeast 
Month Hiring Index Pay Index
January ’14 11,270 903
December ’13 11,298 904
November ’13 11,325 908
October ’13 11,353 911
September ’13 11,381 912
August ’13 11,403 917
July ’13 11,442 918
June ’13 11,477 923
May ’13 11,513 926
April ’13 11,583 929
March ’13 11,640 931
February ’13 11,687 933
January ’13 11,728 932
South
Month Hiring Index Pay Index
January ’14 12,394 957
December ’13 12,395 957
November ’13 12,382 959
October ’13 12,385 958
September ’13 12,382 956
August ’13 12,360 957
July ’13 12,377 954
June ’13 12,371 954
May ’13 12,364 954
April ’13 12,370 955
March ’13 12,356 951
February ’13 12,345 952
January ’13 12,330 952
West
Month Hiring Index Pay Index
January ’14 9,920 1,106
December ’13 9,921 1,109
November ’13 9,922 1,111
October ’13 9,927 1,113
September ’13 9,935 1,114
August ’13 9,931 1,119
July ’13 9,944 1,118
June ’13 9,956 1,120
May ’13 9,969 1,121
April ’13 9,983 1,123
March ’13 10,004 1,127
February ’13 10,031 1.128
January ’13 10,046 1,129

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SurePayroll provides online payroll services for small businesses across the nation. SurePayroll files and pays your taxes while you can focus on your business.