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The Bright Side Small businesses show more signs of optimism.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs need shades these days because the future looks so bright. The year's first quarter combined healthy hiring growth with moderate salary increases to produce a rosy prospect for 2007, according to the SurePayroll Scorecard hiring index for March. "It's very meaningful," says Michael Alter, president of the payroll service company, which creates the index using data from approximately 18,000 small-business customers. "The small-business economy is clearly doing well."

SurePayroll's March hiring index hit 10,558, up 0.45 percent from February and up 1.11 percent from the end of 2006. This suggests a strong year for small-business job growth, Alter says.

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