The alternate asset management and financial services company said Q4 EPS fell 7.4% to $1.25 but beat views by 33 cents. Revenue fell 20.6% to $2.1 bil, topping views of $1.8 bil. Economic income in Blackstones (NYSE:BX) private equity unit more than doubled to $1.82 bil in 14 and its financial advisory segment, which soon will be spun off, posted a 52.3% yearly gain to $115.3 mil. Shares rose 0.3% to 36.86.



CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends that surveys labor data from over 4,000 companies employing 300 or fewer people, increased by 1.22 percent during December. This follows a decrease of -1.04 percent during the month of November and marks the first positive gain in the SBEI since the reading for the period of August 2014.

Wednesday's jobs report from the payroll processor ADP also had a positive tone in that it offered that businesses added 241,000 jobs last month, surpassing the 225,000 threshold that was expected by surveyed economists.

"Small business owners appeared extremely optimistic according to the November NFIB report, which pinned its gains to business conditions six months from now. The December SBEI results indicate that hiring advanced for those businesses in December, perhaps a result of that optimism," says Philip Noftsinger, business unit president for CBIZ Payroll Services.

To review an infographic with data from the employment index, visit our blog.¹

Additional take-away points from the November SBEI include:

  • At-a-glance: 28 percent of the companies included in the SBEI during December added staff during the period, while only 21 percent decreased payroll commitments. 51 percent of the small businesses in the Index made no change to their employee totals. More than 4,000 small businesses were included in the November and December periods of the SBEI.
  • Take-aways from Decembers past: The December 2014 SBEI reading also exceeded the prior two December readings in 2013 and 2012, further supporting that the optimism felt in the November NFIB report may have translated to additional job growth beyond what should be seasonally expected for December.
  • What could the future bring? There is still reason for caution though, as the details behind the November BLS numbers continue to show growth in sectors that traditionally represent part-time employment. For example, Food Services and Drinking Places grew by 26.5% while Employment Services (temporary labor) grew by 28.4%. These indicate that a good portion of Americans are supplementing their income through holding part-time or multiple jobs.

"The path to labor recovery does run through part-time growth, as employers step carefully back into investments in labor through part-time and temporary help. So, while job growth is being realized, full-time growth is still needed, and can reasonably be expected if the overall economic environment can support transition from part-time investments in labor to full-time commitments," continued Noftsinger.

CBIZ Payroll Services manages payroll services for more than 4,000 businesses. Its index reflects a broad array of industries and geographies corresponding to the markets across the United States, where CBIZ provides human capital services. The data represented by the SBEI is derived from a segment of employers not completely accounted for by the ADP and Federal BLS employment reports.

Editor's note:

(1) The SBEI illustration is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.cbiz.com/insights-resources/blog.

Follow CBIZ on Twitter at @CBZ or on Facebook.

About CBIZ, Inc.

CBIZ, Inc. provides professional business services that help clients better manage their finances and employees. CBIZ provides its clients with financial services including accounting, tax, financial advisory, government health care consulting, risk advisory, merger and acquisition advisory, real estate consulting, and valuation services. Employee services include employee benefits consulting, property and casualty insurance, retirement plan consulting, payroll, life insurance, HR consulting, and executive recruitment. As one of the nation's largest brokers of employee benefits and property and casualty insurance, and one of the largest accounting and valuation companies in the United States, the Company's services are provided through nearly 100 Company offices in 32 states. http://cbiz.com



TED JENKIN: With our national debt topping $17.5 trillion and growing, is it any wonder where the government will strike next to begin collecting more and more revenue. With tons of people behind payments on their student loans, there is a new phenomenon that people collecting Social Security need to be on guard for...that your Social Security check can be garnished.  Yes, that right, you can actually have some of your fixed income in retirement taken away from you.

With more people going back to get a midlife college degree and more parents and grandparents co-signing loans, once your name gets on the dotted line for a federal loan you will be responsible to pay it back one way or another. Back in 2000, only six people were being garnished for delinquent loans; now that number has risen to over 156,000 people. According to some reports, the total garnishments exceeded more than $150 million last year.

What can you do if this happens to you?

  • You'll have a 180-day advance notice.  Make sure you request a review within 20 days.
  • You should contact the Department of Education and see if you can get your loan out of default.  If you can, immediately apply for an income-based repayment plan.  Those living on a fixed income will get their payment down to virtually zero.
  • Apply for a hardship exemption.  There is a ton of paperwork, but you might be able to use this to stop the garnishment.

If you are wondering whether or not Social Security can be 100% garnished from you, there is some silver lining.  There is a floor of $750, which means they government can take 15% of your Social Security (after Medicare deductions), but it cannot push through that $750 limit. However, that can still mean a huge bite out of the wallet of someone living completely on a fixed income from Social Security.

Moral of the story?  You may love your children and grandchildren, but be very cautious before you agree to sign on the dotted line. It just may cost you a piece of your Social Security.

Ted Jenkin (@tedjenkin) is the co-CEO and founder of oXYGen Financial, a financial advisory firm focused on the X amp; Y generations. He also blogs at yoursmartmoneymoves.com.

 Read the latest Investing in Funds amp; ETFs Report.



KPS Company LLC has changed its name to Kosovsky and Company, CPA Consultants LLC.

ILLINOIS

Becker Professional Education, which is part of the DeVry Education Group, has made updates to its CPA Exam Review course and products. The enhancements include significant increases in multiple-choice questions and simulations, robust new lectures and hundreds more flashcards — all designed to ensure students prepare with the most current content on the CPA Exam. The enhanced CPA Exam Review, created with the help of student feedback, now consists of: More than 7,000 multiple choice questions, 300 task-based simulations, 100 hours of expert instruction, two full final practice exams per part, interactive study planner and study roadmap, comprehensive textbooks and eBooks and unlimited academic support. In addition, students can now supplement with: More than 30 hours of video lectures and over 700 multiple-choice questions for the Final Review, 1,400 flashcards, and additional multiple-choice questions for select topics.

INDIA

HLB International has recently signed a new member in India: Roy Varghese Co, located in Trivandrum and Cochin, Kerala State. Established in 1993, Roy Varghese Co provides audit, tax, corporate finance and business advisory services to a wide range of companies including listed and public companies, with special expertise in the technology, financial services, healthcare, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. The firm comprises over 50 staff and all partners, most of whom are Big Four-trained, are fellow members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Roy Varghese Co has a large international clientele, which will have a positive impact on the rest of the HLB network particularly in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.

MARYLAND

The regional CPA and advisory firm of DeLeon Stang, CPAs and Advisors won the Small Business of the Year for Volunteerism award from the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County.

NEW YORK

Dannible McKee LLP welcomed a group of high school students from Manlius Pebble Hill School to its Syracuse office on Dec. 15, 2014 and provided them with an overview on the accounting industry. Audit senior Alanna Abreu spoke to students about the day-to-day activities of an accountant and answered questions. The interactive session ended with a tour of the offices where students were provided with an opportunity to meet with more members of the firm’s audit and tax departments. … CohnReznick LLP has signed a long-term lease for more than 125,000 square feet occupying the seventh and 10th floors at 1301 Avenue of the Americas. The new location represents a significant expansion and upgrade for the Firm’s national headquarters, which will feature state-of-the-art work spaces and collaborative meeting areas completely customized for the needs of the growing Firm. CohnReznick will move from its current 90,000 square-foot location at 1212 Avenue of the Americas in phases beginning at the end of 2015 with an expected completion by end of 2017. The new location will bring together 39 Partners and more than 300 employees to provide improved efficiencies and cross-functional team collaboration. … Mitchell Titus LLP the largest minority-controlled professional services firm in the US, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. The firm, a certified Minority Business Enterprise (“MBE”), is the first minority-controlled accounting firm in the US to align with one of the Big Four firms.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Dixon Hughes Goodman donated 431,475 lbs. of food during the past 12 months to organizations that feed the hungry. With their Count the Cans Food Drive, they continued to help those in need in their community. Dixon Hughes Goodman’s successful Count the Cans Food Drive benefited Loaves Fishes whose tagline is “bringing the hungry fresh food daily”. They state that 18.8 percent of South Carolinians are food insecure, which means they do not know if they will have enough to eat from one day to the next. Over 61,000 people in Greenville County do not know where their next meal will come from. Loaves and Fishes depends on food drives like Count the Cans to feed the hungry in our community.