The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs and unemployment fell to 7.7 percent in February, according to the latest report from the Labor Department , and small businesses did their part to accelerate the recovery. The National Federation of Independent Business reported that small companies increased employment by 0.1 worker per firm, a slightly faster pace of growth than in January, and Intuit reported that small businesses added 15,000 jobs last month.
Sequestration chips away at health care tax relief
As part of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestion, the Internal Revenue Service last week announced that the refundable portion of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit will be reduced by 8.7 percent for small, tax-exempt businesses. Unless addressed by Congress, the reduction will last through the end of September.
Snowquester brings boost to local hardware stores, restaurants
Though it packed far less punch than expected, last week’s snow storm delivered a brief bump in business for several local firms, including some hotels, bars and equipment retailers. Fairfax resident Craig Smith, for example, said sales jumped 200 percent at his hardware store in the days leading up to the storm as customer braces for the worst.
Walmart showcases women-owned companies
The retail behemoth last week unveiled a line of products made by small, women-owned businesses, including jewelers, fashion designers and coffee producers. The small businesses hail from nine countries, including Cambodia, Rwanda and the United States.
Small business borrowing slips
Borrowing by small companies dropped to start the new year, according to the latest Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which sank from 115.8 in December to 113.1 in January. On the bright side, that marks a 13 percent increase from the same month last year.
SBA closes disaster recovery centers
The Small Business Administration on Friday closed its disaster loan outreach and business recovery centers in Queens and Staten Island, which were set up to help small business owners in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The administration said activity and visits have tappered off in recent weeks, prompting the decision to shut down.
OSB business of the week: viaCycle: Built by students at Georgia Tech University, the start-up offers a bikeshare program without the docking stations, instead using GPS to show users where to find available bikes.
What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.