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Small Business Employment Continues Slow Growth

U.S. small business employment increased slightly in February, with employees earning more money and working more hours. Small business revenues continue to drop, with the retail industry seeing the largest decline.

Those are among the findings of the monthly Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes. The report found that:

  • Employment increased by 0.07 percent in February, adding 15,000 new jobs at an annualized growth rate of 0.8 percent.
  • Average monthly compensation grew by 0.4 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, or $12, compared to the $6 decrease reported in January.
  • Average monthly hours worked increased by 0.17 percent, or 12 minutes, compared to the decrease of almost one hour reported in January.

The employment index is based on data from Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll , covering the period from Jan. 24 through Feb. 23.

“Small business employment has risen by 75,000 jobs from this same time last year,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the indexes. “However, if small business employment were growing at its usual proportionate rate of 15 percent of national employment, that number would be 300,000 –a 400 percent difference.

“The housing bust that was at the center of the economic collapse hurt small business much more than it did big business. In non-recession times, construction industry jobs make up about five percent of all employment, but it comprises nearly 20 percent of jobs in the small business and self-employed segment. Single-family home construction, which was at 2 million houses per year in 2006, is now below 900,000 per year. Until construction truly recovers, we will not see robust recovery in small business employment.”

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