Smaller firms struggling to provide new jobs

A new study has suggested that many smaller businesses are finding it difficult to create new jobs.

Research carried out by the Open University found that in the three months to June two thirds of small firms reported that the size of their workforce has been unchanged over the past year.

Of the other third, more firms have cut employee numbers than have added to them.

The survey, which took in some 800 businesses, revealed that confidence among owners has fallen since last year.

There was, however, some good news for certain sectors. Nearly a half (47 per cent) of the manufacturers polled said that there had been a rise in sales during the second quarter.

Among small manufacturers, there was a plus balance of 27 per cent between those who had seen a boost to sales and those who had seen a decline in business.