Small business weekly: Chris Christie’s scandal and Maria Cantwell’s gavel


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s bridge scandal reportedly took a toll on several small businesses in that part of the state. (CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)

A review of the biggest small business and startup stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.

Main Street hiring surges: Small employers rebounded from a poor showing in October to close out the year with their two highest hiring totals of 2013, according to the latest jobs report from ADP. Meanwhile, a report last week from the National Federation of Independent Business showed that small firms added an average of 0.24 workers per company, the highest reading on that index since February 2006. (WP)

Overall economy, not so much: The United States economy added a dismal 74,000 jobs in December, according to government data released late last week, far short of economists’ expectations. Though the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, the report is still considered yet another stumble in the nation’s sputtering recovery. (AP)

Calls to consolidate SBA grow louder: Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would tuck the Small Business Administration inside a consolidated agency with the Commerce and Labor departments — a proposal similar to one two years ago by the White House. The move is intended to save money by eliminating duplicative programs. (WP)

Small businesses hit by traffic jam in New Jersey: No matter who was responsible for the traffic jam scandal that has ensnared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, small business owners in the area say the lane closures took a toll on their businesses. The state is continuing to investigate what happened. (FOX)

Cantwell in line for Senate small business chair: President Obama’s selection of Sen. Max Baucus to serve as ambassador to China will prompt a reshuffling of the gavels in the Senate, and sources on the Hill report that Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is likely to take over the small-business and entre­pre­neur­ship committee in the coming weeks. (WP)

Twitter founder launches new venture: Nine months after he hinted at a new startup, Biz Stone, one of the creators of Twitter, last week unveiled his latest venture, named Jelly. It is a question-and-answer style social networking program that lets users pose questions to friends, complete with relevant pictures. (NYT)

Small franchise sues Labor Department: An Arkansas franchisor filed a lawsuit against the Department of Labor on Monday, alleging that officials harmed her company by arbitrarily and unfairly claffifying volunteers as employees of the franchise owner’s children’s consignment business.

Chamber, small firms share some policy goals: Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue last week delivered the group’s annual State of American Business speech at its headquarters in Washington, promising to turn up the heat on several issues that could have a significant impact on entrepreneurs and small business owners.

What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.

Follow J.D. Harrison and On Small Business on Twitter.

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he manages the Post's On Small Business blog.
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