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PEO survey sees small biz confident in economy

More than half (52%) of small-business owners expect an economic turnaround next year, according to a Business Confidence Survey released today by Insperity (, a provider of human resource services for small and medium-sized businesses.

Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said they expect sales to increase over the remainder of the year and into 2010. That’s up from 41%in the last quarter. In addition, 58% of owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses said that they are either meeting or exceeding their 2009 performance plans, with the remaining 42% reporting that they are doing worse than expected.

Insperity also said that, based on data from the company’s base of more than 5,900 small and medium-sized businesses, average compensation is up 0.9% compared with the third quarter of 2008, while bonuses are down 0.9% and commissions have increased 4.1% , the first positive move in a year.  Overtime pay is running at 7.4% of regular pay, up slightly from 7.1% in July but still under the 10% to 12 % range that indicates a need for additional employees.

In the survey conducted late last month, 61% of participants said they are maintaining current staffing levels, while 28% are adding new positions, up from 23% three months ago and 18% six months ago. Layoffs were named by 11% as a current management strategy compared with 16% in July and 19% in May.

The survey also showed that 54% of respondents expect to maintain employee compensation at current levels into 2010, 23% plan increases, 4% expect decreases and 18% were unsure.

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