While small business employment grew slightly in December according to the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index, employers may not be rushing to add staff in early 2014. “What we’re seeing is still a tepid, but positive growth in numbers,” says CBIZ business unit president Philip Noftsinger. The latest index shows that businesses with fewer than 300 employees grew by .31% in December, following .52% growth in November. While small businesses have seen some stable growth over the last three years, Noftsinger says it's been slow and steady. “Small business owners right now are so guarded – there’s not a lot of entrepreneurialism,” says Noftsinger.
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While many experts predict the economy will recover at a faster pace in 2014, Noftsinger says it is unlikely small businesses will hire in advance of this growth. “At the small business level, they’re just too battered from the recession and the recovery to make large predictive investments,” says Noftsinger. And in early 2014, it’s possible that the extreme cold weather caused by the polar vortex will put a freeze on any hiring plans. CBIZ cites estimates predicting a blow as great as $5 billion to the economy due to the weather. The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index is based on data from 3,500 small business clients of CBIZ, which provides professional financial services.