March 2006

The small-business challenge | Focus

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The small-business challenge

by Ambika Puniani Bailey
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It seems as though small businesses, particularly those in the construction industry, are having a tough time catching a break when it comes to fulfilling work force needs. Not only is impending immigration legislation threatening to make hiring foreign workers more difficult but small-business growth in general appears to be faltering.

A study conducted by SurePayroll, a small-business payroll company based in Skokie, Ill., shows hiring among small businesses (those with fewer than 100 employees) increased only 0.3 percent during 2005 compared with 4.4 percent during 2004.

Inc. magazine attributes some of the slowdown in the small-business sector to larger companies searching for qualified talent.

But even if a small business can fill its employment needs, the price will be steep. The U.S. Department of Labor says average hourly wages climbed 0.3 percent to $16.34. But many companies are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they have a...

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