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There are green shoots in SME employment, but recovery is 'far from guaranteed'

ISME said that its members are feeling more positive on the jobs front, but said the Government must stay the course on austerity.

Image: Shutterstock

SMALL BUSINESSES ARE feeling more positive about their employment prospects than at any time since the autumn of 2007.

That’s the finding of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise association’s quarterly trend survey, which also shows increases in eight out of 12 key business indicators.

Despite employment indicators hitting their highest post-recession levels, ISME cautioned that economic recovery will be gradual and any meaningful growth “will require cost curtailment, particularly in relation to state-influenced business costs and wage demands.”

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said that “SMEs are making progress at a slow pace and economic recovery is far from guaranteed at present.”

He said that complacency must be guarded against as long as the State is spending more than it generates in income.

“The fact remains that SMEs continue to be burdened with excessive and uncompetitive cost structures and these, as well as growing pressure for wage demands, must be curtailed.”

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With one eye on the Government re-shuffle, Fielding said that a “hopefully reinvigorated Government” must focus on “prudent economic management” and ignore “left wing calles for a stop on austerity, meaning more government spending funded by higher taxes, higher wages and borrowed money.”

Read: Small business satisfaction with Government on the slide>

Read: Government ‘charade’ in ISME crosshairs over late payments>

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Jack Horgan-Jones

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