November Small Business Employment Index Shows Mixed Signals

by Tammy Lam on November 29, 2011
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Small businesses created 55,000 new jobs in November, but employees continued to work fewer hours and make less money.

These are among the results of this month’s update of the Intuit Small Business Employment Index, covering the period between Oct. 24 and Nov. 23.

The monthly report found that small business employment grew by 0.3 percent in November, equating to an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent. Hours worked and compensation fell by 0.3 percent and 0.18 percent respectively.

Small business hourly employees worked an average of 107.8 hours in November, making for a 24.9-hour workweek. This is a 0.3 percent decrease from the revised October figure of 108.1 hours.

Average monthly pay for all small business employees declined slightly to $2,637 in November. This is a 0.18 percent decrease compared to the October revised estimate of $2,642 per month. The equivalent annual wages would be about $31,600 per year, which is part-time work for many small business employees.

“The seasonally adjusted small business employment growth rate is up this month, but the overall signals are mixed,” says Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the Index. “In addition to the rise in the employment growth rate, the hiring rate, or the proportion of new employee hires, is up also, as is the hourly wage. On the other hand, total compensation is down, part-time workers aren’t getting as many hours, and there are fewer hourly employees who are working full time. Overall, this data is the best we could hope for given the uncertainty of the situation in Europe.”

Small business employment continues to grow in all parts of the U.S. except the Middle Atlantic division, which saw a slight decrease of 0.01 percent. The Mountain division saw the most growth, at 0.6 percent. The data reflect employment from approximately 71,000 small business employers who use Intuit Online Payroll.

Since the hiring trend began its steady climb in October 2009, small businesses have created 1,155,000 new jobs.

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