According to the Intuit SMB Employment Index, small business hiring has grown steadily since the Fall of 2009, and is trending back towards levels not seen since before the recession. Using the data Intuit tracks customer data, small business employment will return to ‘07 levels by the end of the year should the pace continue.
In the broader economy, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% in December. Economists believe that it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the rate drops below 8% by the November elections. According to the Labor Department’s survey of households, the U.S. has added an average of 268,000 jobs per month since July. The economy would have to sustain that number throughout the year to achieve the goal.