More firms plan to take on workers
More small firms are planning to recruit than make lay-offs for the first time in two years, a survey has revealed.
The Small Firms Association said 23% of companies quizzed planned to take on temporary workers over the summer with 15% intending to hire permanent staff.
Just 3% said they planned to make compulsory redundancies, compared with 22% in 2009.
Patricia Callan, SFA director, said that while some businesses are still struggling, confidence is returning.
"The Government's Jobs Initiative and in particular the halving of the lower rate of employer's PRSI has been well received by small businesses and they are now responding with real job creation," Ms Callan said.
"The Government must continue to improve the competitive environment in which small businesses operate, cutting costs wherever it can."
The survey was conducted last month among 592 companies from the manufacturing, retail and services sectors employing 12,750 people.
Some 3% of companies said they were in the process of laying off staff, while 8% said they were carrying out short-time working arrangements.
A separate survey carried out by business body Ibec found the number of companies planning to hire within the next three months almost doubled to more than 20% from the same period last year.
Fergal O'Brien, Ibec chief economist, said confidence was stabilising.
"The survey provides further evidence that business is now well-placed to drive economic growth and recovery," Mr O'Brien said.
"Firms' confidence in both the current trading conditions and the three month outlook for their own businesses has stabilised at a solid level."