NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After a flat March, roughly 60,000 jobs were created in April by businesses with fewer than 20 employees, according to Intuit's (INTU) - Get Report Small Business Employment Index.
The monthly report found that employment rose by 0.3%, equating to an annual growth rate of approximately 3.6%, Intuit says.
Small business are helping decrease unemployment, adding 60,000 jobs last month at companies with 20 or fewer workers, a report by Intuit says.
Intuit's numbers are based on data from some 65,000 small businesses that use its online payroll system. The April job additions mean that nearly 845,000 small-business jobs have been created in the U.S. since October 2009.
"Small-business employment is showing continued strength," says Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the index. "Employment is up, hours worked are up and total compensation per employee is up. Moreover, employment is up across the country. While we have a long way to go to full employment, we have seen continued improvement now for a year and a half."
After falling in March, hourly compensation at small businesses rose 0.5%, to $2,653 per month compared with the revised March figure of $2,641. Intuit says the figures equate to wages of about $31,800 per year.
Total monthly hours rose 0.7%, to 109.8, in April, equating to a 25.3-hour work week, slightly above March figures, Intuit says.
April hours worked had the strongest increase so far this year, Woodward says.
All nine regions in the U.S. showed improvement in employment last month -- the fourth month in a row. Arizona showed the highest job growth among states in which Intuit had more than 1,000 small-business customers.
is expected to release April employment numbers Friday.
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