U.S. small businesses expect continued 2017 growth

U.S. small businesses expect stronger revenue this year and many anticipate adding employees, a generally optimistic read that could support job growth in coming months, the New York Fed reported on Tuesday.

In a national survey that covered nearly 16,000 firms with fewer than 500 employees, more than 60 percent said they expect more revenue in 2017 than last year, and around 40 percent anticipated expanding their workforce.

A third of firms said they had added workers in 2016, with fewer than 20 percent saying they had reduced employment.

The findings on employment were "a positive note" in a report that detailed a broader picture of businesses struggling to get the financing needed to expand, said a Federal Reserve official who worked on the study but was not authorized to speak on the record.

Steady national job growth and a 4.5 percent unemployment level have convinced Federal Reserve policymakers that the economy is near full employment, or perhaps even slightly beyond it. Though job growth slowed in March, the small business survey is a sign that hiring may continue since smaller firms are responsible for the bulk of U.S. hiring.

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