While the government shutdown and ObamaCare may have thrown curveballs at Main Street in 2013, small business owners are going into the new year with a positive attitude.

The December 2013 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard shows a significant, year-over-year increase when it comes to small business optimism. Seventy percent of small business owners with 10 or fewer employees are feeling positive about the future, up from 55% in December 2012.

"We saw a year of recovery in 2013. Seeing that optimism is higher going into 2014 gives us reason to believe small business owners are confident about the future, which typically results in increased hiring and growth," said SurePayroll CEO and President Michael Alter in a statement released Thursday.

The number of 1099s – the tax forms used for independent contractors – also continued to decline for the fourth consecutive quarter, according to the SurePayroll Scorecard.  Only 25% of small business owners say they will hire more contractors in 2014 than they did the previous year, which may indicate that more small business owners are preparing to hire full-time workers.

"More full-time hires means more stability and more dollars available to spend on Main Street, hopefully propelling our economy forward,” said Alter.

When it comes to hiring and salaries, December was also a relatively solid month for micro businesses. SurePayroll found that hiring was down 0.1% for businesses with 10 or fewer employees in the final month of 2013, while paychecks were down 0.2%. Year-over-year, hiring decreased 1.7%, while paychecks were  down 0.3%.

SurePayroll provides payroll and benefits solutions for small businesses; the Scorecard is based on the real-time data of tens of thousands of micro businesses using SurePayroll’s services.

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