As the focus of stock market watchers, economists, and politicians turns to Friday's release of the February non-farms payroll and unemployment numbers, we thought we'd weigh in again on hiring trends. In the past few days a number of payroll companies have released reports based on their own February numbers. They contain some hopeful signs. On Monday the Intuit Small Business Employment Index, which tracks hiring at companies of fewer than 20 employees, reported another uptick in hiring. The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, another measure of small business hiring, reported that in February hiring year-to-date increased 1.9%. And then today the granddaddy of all these private sector reports, the ADP payroll report, noted that non-farm payrolls declined by the least since February 2008. (It's a sign of how bleak the jobs picture is when small job losses are being celebrated as good news).
At Criteria we develop and deliver pre-employment testing software that our customers use to help enhance their hiring process. Because our service is web-based we can track our customers' usage patterns pretty closely, and this provides us with great insights into hiring trends across the U.S. (we currently have hundreds of customers in 46 different states.)