Small business lending and hiring up at end of 2012

Small businesses were able to borrow a little more in December and the data showed a slight increase for 2012, which a report says is a least a small sign of potential economic growth for the beginning of 2013.

Likewise, a separate report showed small business hiring up slightly in January.

For the year, small business lending was up 1 percent for 2012 over 2011, according to the Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, a measure of the overall volume of financing to small companies in the United States.

Small businesses are often responsible for the bulk of new job creation after recessions. The recent recession ended in 2009, but sluggish growth has meant weak job growth, and unemployment in January rose to 7.9 percent. Read more at Reuters.

For small business hiring, the Fational Federation of Independent Business said hiring was up slightly, but was the highest on their index since April 2012. (More from the NFIB.)

The official federal employment report is due out tomorrow, with analysts expecting non-farm jobs to have increased mildly.