A store front sign shows jobs are available.

Wall Street Journal staffer Lisa Beilfuss reports on positive and directionally-encouraging data on small business hiring, and she explores what that means for broader economic health.

Beilfuss notes that small businesses tend to be service providers whose ups and downs reflect a strong sensitivity to consumer spending and sentiment, and what is more, they represent more than half of American jobs, per the Labor Department. Beilfuss writes:

According to data from ADP, businesses with under 50 workers have increased payrolls by an average 2.2% over the past three years, slightly better than the 1.9% clip of headcount growth at America’s biggest firms. In a recent report, the Labor Department said firms with fewer than 50 employees averaged a net 0.9% increase in employment, higher than the 0.5% net increase amid the country’s biggest firms.

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