Cold Weather Impacts March Employment Growth

by Tammy Lam on April 1, 2014
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The latest Intuit Small Business Employment Index showed no employment growth in March, the second month in a row that small business employment has stalled. The Intuit Small Business Revenue Index also showed that overall small business revenue declined by 0.15 percent in February.

Below are highlights from the latest indexes. To download the full report or see past data visit index.intuit.com.

March 2014 Employment Index

  • Small businesses have added more than 575,000 jobs since March 2010.
  • Employees’ average monthly compensation grew 0.4 percent in March, an increase of $9 from February’s revised figure.
  • Average monthly hours worked by hourly employees grew 0.2 percent in March, an increase of approximately 18 minutes from February’s revised figure.

“Small businesses are continuing to hire, but the rate of new hires remains low – close to the level it fell to in June 2009,” says Susan Woodward, the economist who works with Intuit to create the indexes. “However, the number of employees leaving jobs or being laid off offsets the rate of hiring. Thus, employment levels remained flat for the second consecutive month. Employment losses in March were concentrated in states suffering from the cold weather, especially in the upper Midwest and Mountain States. The silver lining is that nationally, small business employers are giving more hours to their existing employees, an increase of 0.2 percent from the previous month. This is the highest it’s been since January 2013.

March Small Business Employment

Geographically, employment losses were concentrated in states suffering from the harsh winter, especially those in the upper Midwest and Mountain regions. However, of the 39 states tracked by the Employment Index, 23 saw growth. Kentucky showed the strongest growth at 0.3 percent. Missouri and Idaho recorded the largest declines for the second consecutive month, at 0.4 and 0.3 percent respectively.

Small Business Employment by State

This iteration of the employment index is based on anonymized data from approximately 220,000 small businesses, a subset of total Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll users. It covers the period from February 24 through March 23.

February 2014 Revenue Index

  • On a per-business basis, small business revenues saw an overall decline of 0.15 percent in February.
  • Of the industries tracked by the revenue index, the construction sector, and “other services” sectors were the only sectors to see revenues increase, at 0.19 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
  • The real estate services industry showed the largest decline at 0.8 percent, followed by the accommodation and food services sector, which dropped 0.4 percent.

February Intuit Small Business Revenue Index

“Over the last year, small business revenue has grown by 2.3 percent on a per-business basis, which is faster than the national rate of inflation,” said Woodward. “Revenue for all industry sectors has grown in the past year, with the exception of real estate services.”

This latest revenue index is based on anonymized data from approximately 150,000 small businesses, a subset of total QuickBooks Online users, covering the period from February 1 to 28.

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