Gloom and doom ahead for nation, says local pundit

It's a Cassandra report again from a national organization that tracks small business employment and earnings.

The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, which is based on payroll data for its 15,000 small business customers, decried June as a paltry month for small business hiring.

SurePayroll president Michael Alter said small businesses are confronted with lingering terrorism issues, higher oil and gas prices, rising interest rates, competition from increased global outsourcing and high health-care insurance costs.

"If the second half of the year proves to be no different than the first, we will end up with annual growth in small business hiring at just under0.6 percent in 2005, a somewhat worrisome figure given that small businesses are believed to create 75 percent of new jobs," according to Alter.

SurePayroll's year-to-date growth number for small business hiring remains the same from May to June at 0.3 percent.

The feds report a rosier review for the business climate all around.

General employment, which doesn't include farm jobs, increased by 146,000 in June, and the unemployment rate continued to trend down, reaching 5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. Over the month, payroll employment continued to grow in several industries, notably professional and business services and health care.

That brought employment in June to 133.5 million total. This followed job gains of 292,000 in April and 104,000 in May. Over the month, professional and business services and health care added jobs and manufacturing employment declined.

Carson City's annual job growth rate in May, the most recent data, was 3.1 percent, which was unchanged from April, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation.

"I'm absolutely optimistic. I couldn't have asked for a better June," said Northern Nevada Development Authority Executive Director Ron Weisinger.

Weisinger said a Fernley company plans to expand its manufacturing plant by adding more than $5 million in equipment, which means more jobs. Polypipe Inc. will go before the Nevada Commission on Economic Development Wednesday seeking incentives.

"They produce polyethylene pipe and they are going to be building the largest pipe of its kind - 65 inches in diameter," he said. "This pipe is not manufactured anywhere in the U.S. The economic impact on their expansion is over $8.2 million."

PolyPipe produces large pipe up to 36 and 54 inches in diameter at its north Texas and Tennessee plants. It expects to complete the Fernley expansion in the first half of 2006, a company report said.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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