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The Big Payoff

The trend in SMB hiring is pointing to long-term quality over short-term quantity.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Small businesses hired fewer people but paid them more at theend of 2005, reversing a trend in the SurePayroll HiringIndex that lasted more than a year. "We've seen ashift in the data," says Michael Alter, president of Skokie,Illinois-based payroll service SurePayroll. "There have beenthree down months of hiring, and [for] five of the last six months,salaries have been rising."

In November, the nationwide hiring index reflected a downtrendthat began in September and negated most of the gains brought aboutby the slow expansion of small-business hiring during the firstpart of the year. Indications were the year would end with a meager0.3 percent increase in the number of people on small-businesspayrolls, based on a count of paychecks issued to SurePayroll's15,000 small-business customers.

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