) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Super-small businesses hired 55,000 workers in November.

Businesses with fewer than 20 employees created 55,000 jobs in the four-week period ending Nov. 23, according to the


(INTU) - Get Report

Small Business Employment Index.

The number is slightly lower than the adjusted 60,000 hires in October, according to Intuit. Compensation and hours worked by employees also somewhat decreased during the four-week period.

"The seasonally adjusted-small business employment growth rate is up this month, but the overall signals are mixed," said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the Index. "Overall, this data is the best we could hope for given the uncertainty of the situation in Europe."

2. Are small businesses picking up U.S. manufacturing.


, a Royal Oak, Mich.-based small business that creates university and sorority-centered beads, bracelets and charms, tells me via Twitter that they have just brought their manufacturing "on shore" -- to Michigan from China. And they did it by partnering with another small business. Could this be the start of a return to "Made in the U.S.A."?

As the @SchoolBeads account tweets, the hope is that more small businesses will make their products in the U.S. in 2012.

Another collegiate retailer,

School House

, also recently moved its manufacturing back to the U.S. Company founder Rachel Weeks won this year's

Score Outstanding Women-owned Small Business award


3. SoJo backed by Ellen DeGeneres.

Start-up gaming company SoJo (short for Social Joy) is getting a lot of attention for its

mission to create "some sort of real world, charity-drive effect" through games

, according to

Business Insider

. Ellen DeGeneres and at least one more A-list celebrity backed the company, the article says.

With $8 million in the bank, the company is launching today with its first game, WeTopia,

Business Insider


Players can earn "Joy" instead of virtual currency to spend on do-good projects such as planting trees or giving schools clean water that is reflected in the real world, the article says. SoJo will donate to one of its partner charities whenever "Joy" is spent to accomplish the task.

"Play for good -- that's our tag line," founder Lincoln Brown tells


. "Figuring out how to do good and have fun is a fine line. With SoJo's games, we want people to live in a magical world and contribute to good causes as they see fit."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to:!/LKulikowski

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