Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.
What’s going ‘on’:
Business owners growing more optimistic:More than half (56 percent) of small business owners have a positive outlook on the next six months, up from 48 percent in the fall, according to a new study from American Express OPEN. Meanwhile, the employment picture is improving, as more owners say they plan to hire employees and far fewer said they will freeze hiring or cut back.
Unemployment claims hit two-month high: Claims for unemployment benefits increased 13,000 last week to 380,000, the highest since late January, according to the Labor Department, topping estimates and reinforcing concern among Federal Reserve policy makers that the labor-market recovery will be slow to develop.
California court rules against required meal breaks: The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers are under no obligation to ensure that workers take legally mandated lunch breaks. The ruling stated that requiring companies to order breaks is unmanageable and that those decisions should be left to workers.
Keep an eye ‘on’:
Silicon Valley, New York holding rank among start-up hubs:Silicon Valley still tops the list of the world’s top start-up ecosystems, according to new rankings by the Startup Genome project, but the gap is closing between it and cities like New York City (second), London (third) and Toronto (fourth). The District ranks 24th, while five other American cities cracked the top 20.
Trade gap shrinking:The United States’ trade deficit narrowed more than forecast to $46 billion in February as imports fell by the most in three years, reflecting a large decline in crude oil purchases and a drop-off in demand for Chinese goods. The 12 percent decline leaves the deficit at its lowest mark since October.
Helpful advice ‘on’:
How to advertise effectively on mobile devices (OSB)
How to become a much better boss right now (NFIB)
How to protect and grow your revenue (Fox Small Biz)
How to find funding to purchase new equipment (SBA)