Payroll potential

            We have seen substantial hiring in the energy sector and small increases in retail, restaurants and other business,” says John Hildebrand of Autopaychecks in Grand Junction, “The exception would be the construction industry as there is still an inventory overload across the Grand Valley. But overall, the trend is up.”

            “In general, most operations are trying to provide their services or products through their current staff and resources without adding new payroll,” says Christopher L. West of Dalby, Wendland and Company, PC.”

            Both West and Hildebrand agree that it is the costs associated with hiring as a main reason for nominal growth in payrolls. Employer paid benefits, training and compliance with additional regulations have companies very careful about investing in new employees.

            “When you add in the federal changes related to payroll taxes and reporting, company sponsored health plans and other benefit plans, these all affect and become burdensome to businesses as they try to anticipate how to best serve their employees,” says West.

            “While the state of Colorado had a fairly quiet legislative session last year, there were just shy of 30 new federal labor law changes or updates for 2011 that most business owners are, quite frankly, unaware of,” adds Hildebrand.

            Because of the regulations, businesses will wait on hiring decisions so they can anticipate the final legislative affects on not only the costs, but on their business practices as well. Businesses have enough to worry about in this economy without the extra needed hours to be spent complying and interpreting new regulations, the pair noted.

            Businesses can take advantage of tax incentives available in Enterprise Zones for hiring and buying new equipment, although in Colorado, beginning this year, businesses must pre-qualify. Additionally, there are federal tax credits available for small businesses to cover their employees with health insurance.

            “Most companies are reluctant to interview, hire and train for the short term without seeing long-term benefits,” says West, “So they are asking their current staff to produce the best they can, which is good news for those employed.”

            “I think businesses are doing a bit better than they were a year ago,” says Hildebrand, “The one thing a business cannot do is keep doing business the same. It simply must innovate and improve.”