(Reuters) - Small business owners cut jobs in July for the second straight month because of weak housing starts and meager spending on services, the National Federation of Independent Business said on Thursday.
Fourteen percent of small businesses polled last month said they cut staff, while 12 percent made new hires, William Dunkelberg, the NFIB's chief economist, said in a statement.
The full poll of 1,817 small businesses is due to be released on Tuesday.
"For the small-business community, the employment picture remained bleak throughout July," Dunkelberg said.
His comments came before Friday's release of the government's comprehensive employment report for July, which will be scrutinized for signs of how quickly the economy can regain its momentum.
Nonfarm payrolls likely increased 85,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey, after rising only 18,000 in June. The jobless rate is expected to hold steady at 9.2 percent.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Gary Crosse)
Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.