NU Online News Service, Jan. 7, 2005, 3:12 p.m. EST

The job market at small and midsize employers might be improving.[@@]

Researchers at Administaff Inc., Houston, a human resources company, report that 78% of the company’s 4,600 small and midsize employer clients have higher expectations for growth for 2005 than they had for 2004.

Only 19% of the participating employees are predicting employment to flatten out, 59% expect to hire more employees in the coming year, and 59% say they are taking steps to boost employee retention.

Although compensation increased only 5% between the fourth quarter of 2003 and the fourth quarter of 2004, bonuses increased 15%, Administaff says.