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Small Business Outlook Shows Growth In Houston

Small businesses in Houston enjoyed stronger growth in the first half of 2011 than their counterparts in much of the rest of the country. But the second half of the year may not be nearly as bright. Andrew Schneider has the story.


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Downtown Houston seen from aboveA study of thirty-six leading metro areas by payroll services firm SurePayroll finds that small business hiring has dropped more than 2% nationwide since the start of the year. By contrast, hiring in Houston is up nearly 1% over the same period.

The report shows a similar edge when it comes to pay increases. Paychecks at Houston small businesses are up well over 3% since January 1, compared to a near flat showing nationally.

SurePayroll president Michael Alter credits the energy industry and the relative health of the housing and construction markets for Houston’s stronger showing. But he warns that small business growth is likely slow in the second half.

“There’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty in terms of what the world is going to look like going forward — whether that be what might happen with taxes, what might happen as a result of our debt challenges, what might happen with health insurance reform, what might happen on the world stage that will impact the economy with Greece — and all of this uncertainty leads people to sit on the sidelines and wait it out.”

That uncertainty, he says, will hit Houston as hard as anywhere else.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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