Small businesses, which are defined as those with 250 or fewer employees, are reporting improved sales as well as increased hiring plans, according to the latest national CareerBuilder survey. 

In fact, 32 percent of respondents say their sales increased during the last two quarters from Oct. 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012. Another 46 percent of respondents believe their sales will grow over the next two quarters from April 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2012. 

While 19 percent of respondents hired full-time, permanent employees during the last two quarters, 24 percent of respondents anticipate bringing in full-time, permanent employees during the next two quarters. 

The survey also finds that respondents are important when it comes to retraining workers and reducing the talent deficit across the country. In an earlier CareerBuilder study conducted by Harris Interactive in February 2012, 40 percent of small-business respondents with 250 or fewer employees reported having action plans ready in an effort to help bridge the gap between high-demand positions and the amount of skilled workers available to take those positions. Fifty-one percent of respondents say they intend to hire and train workers who are inexperienced in their respective industry or field.

“While still cautious, the increased sales and hiring activity among small businesses bodes well for where the market is headed,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America.

The study, which was conducted by Harris Interactive between Feb. 9, 2012, and March 2, 2012, is drawn upon responses from more than 1,000 small businesses in multiple industries.