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Small-business group's survey says hiring streak hit 7th straight month in April

HIRING STREAK: Small business owners increased their payrolls for a seventh straight month during April, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. The survey of nearly 1,700 NFIB members showed they added an average of 0.07 workers per business last month. That's down from 0.11 in March. Still, it's the longest hiring streak since 2006, before the recession.

RECENT TRENDS: The NFIB findings fit with surveys released Wednesday by payroll company ADP and software maker Intuit. Both reported that employment at small businesses inched higher in April. All the surveys point to growing confidence among small business owners. But owners are nonetheless hiring cautiously, not taking big risks while the economy still looks uncertain. The government said Wednesday that the economy as measured by the gross domestic product barely rose in the January-March quarter.

THE FUTURE: More NFIB members said they plan to hire in the coming months. But those plans were also conservative. Only 8 per cent of the owners plan to bring in new workers. Another look at April employment comes Friday, when the Labor Department releases its monthly report.

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