But more work remains to be done.
About 76,000 jobs were created in Washington during 2014, a 2.5 percent increase. But much more work remains to be done in a state where small business owners struggle with the highest minimum wage in the nation and expensive new carbon proposals.
Texas led the nation last year, creating 417,000 new jobs, according to a Stateline analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data released in December. North Dakota, fueled by an oil and gas boom, led the nation in percentage of job growth, adding 22,000 new jobs, a 4.8 percent improvement in unemployment.
See which industries contributed to the gains here.
Overall, the national increase in employment—almost every state added jobs—was reflected in NFIB’s most recent Small Business Optimism Index, released in December and based on November data. Up 2 percentage points to 98.1, the index is finally approaching pre-Great Recession levels, says Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist.
“Expectations for business conditions six months out rose a huge 16 percentage points, while expectations for real sales volumes rose 5 percentage points,” Dunkelberg says. “Unfortunately, the index did not sprint past the average, which is typical of a strong recovery before settling back down. Instead it’s been a slow slog just to reach this point. It’s a little early to declare a breakout. This performance will have to be consolidated by several more positive readings before owners are confident to hire more employees and expand their business. But it’s a good sign that comes at a good time for small business.”
Did you expand your small business in 2014? Do you expect 2015 to be a better or worse year for your firm? Tell us why in the comments section below.