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October Employment Reports Offer Small Business Rejuvenated Encouragement

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With the news Friday that the private sector added 171,000 jobs in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's evident our country is on its way to recovery. As the economy improves, it's also clear small businesses are becoming more confident in their ability to rebound. This heightened optimism -- critical in putting America back to work -- is exemplified by our recent opinion poll that found, despite recent reports claiming otherwise, most of our nation's smallest businesses believe success is on the horizon for their companies.

It makes sense entrepreneurs feel this way, given the economy has added private sector jobs for the last 32 straight months and the unemployment rate is at 7.9 percent. Hiring has been steadily picking up over the last 12 months, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month since July. While there's still plenty of work ahead to fix our country's unemployment problem, our polling helps underscore the significant impact America's smallest firms have on our economy: over half of them report increased sales or revenues over the last two years and another 50 percent plan to hire within the next two.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics wasn't the only bearer of good news this week. Additional jobs numbers out Thursday also show small businesses are living up to their reputation as job creators. Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP), a payroll service that calculates monthly jobs figures and breaks them down by company size, issued its monthly employment report showing 158,000 new jobs created in October -- and small businesses were responsible for about half of those new jobs.

That's not too shabby, and ADP's report also indicated nearly all business sectors surveyed saw job growth last month. It's extremely encouraging to see that small businesses, in industries all across the spectrum, from construction to professional business services, are getting back on track to success. But while four out of the five industries in ADP's survey appear to be flourishing, there's one sector where employment actually dropped: manufacturing.

We gleaned some insight recently on how entrepreneurs view the role of manufacturing in job creation, in another national poll we released last month. We asked 500 randomly selected small business owners about specific proposals to create jobs, and the plan most favorably viewed by entrepreneurs focused on manufacturing. A striking 90 percent of small business owners agree that we should get rid of tax breaks for moving production overseas while providing incentives for bringing production back to the U.S, and more than 6 in 10 support cutting the top corporate manufacturing tax rate to 25 percent while also cutting the rate for advanced manufacturing even lower.

All in all, we still have much to do to strengthen the economy. But October's employment reports, combined with scientific opinion polling helping to keep a finger on the small business pulse, show we are on the right path -- and that small businesses have played an integral part in that progress. Over the past two decades, Main Street firms have created two of every three new jobs in America. When they do well, everyone does well. Let's do what we can to keep them thriving.