The latest Xero Small Business Insights show the total number of employees in small businesses in New Zealand increased 0.8 percent in the month between August and September 2019, a turnaround from the month before when the total number of SME employees declined by 1.73 percent.

Compared to the insights of the previous month (a provisional tax month) there was also a significant uplift in the percentage of small businesses who are cash flow positive, at 55.2 percent in September.

Small businesses hiring ahead of summer

The 0.8 percent increase in the number of small business employees between August and September was not only an improvement on the previous monthly period but also the same period in 2018, when in both instances the XSBI recorded declines in the number of small business employees.

This should lead to a positive run-in for casual staff during the summer/holiday period before the usual drop-off in January.

David Bell, director of business growth at Xero, said small businesses may be in more of an expansionary mode due to an improvement in cash flow positions.

“Small business cash flow bounced back in September after the usual hit from the August provisional tax month. This September they jumped almost 10 percentage points to 55.2 percent positive, which is also the best result in a number of years,” he said.

“The three previous Septembers were all around 54 percent positive. This is a positive for small businesses and should put many in an upbeat mood.”