Small Business Employment On the Slow Road to Recovery

by Tammy Lam

2 min read

The December Intuit Small Business Employment Index showed an increase in employment for the second month in a row, following a stall from May through October.

However, with the exception of the construction sector and the “other services” sector, all industries tracked by the November Intuit Small Business Revenue Index showed declines in business revenue. See more on this in this report.

Here are some additional highlights from last month’s data:

December 2013 Employment Index

  • Small business employment increased 0.09 percent, which is the equivalent of 20,000 jobs.
  • Average monthly compensation declined 0.05 percent, or approximately $1, from November 2013.
  • Average monthly hours worked by hourly employees declined 0.16 percent, or approximately 12 minutes, from November.

“After no progress from May through October, small business employment has now resumed its slow rise for the second month in a row,” says Susan Woodward, the economist who works with Intuit to create the indexes. “For December, the growth rate was about one-tenth of 1 percent, for an annualized rate of just over 1 percent.

“Small business employment continues to recover even more slowly than overall employment. The recovery for non-farm payroll employment was just under 6 percent from the trough in February 2010, while the employment recovery for private payroll, not including government, was a bit over 7 percent. By comparison, small business recovery was only 2.8 percent for the same period.”

Woodward adds, “For the hourly employees of Intuit’s online payroll customers, the average hourly wage nudged up five cents an hour, to $15.92 per hour. That is two percent above the average hourly wage from a year ago.”

Geographically speaking, nearly all of the 38 states tracked by the Intuit Small Business Employment Index showed increases in employment. Only six states showed declines, while two remained flat. Michigan saw the largest decline at 0.18 percent, while Washington saw the greatest increase at 0.3 percent.

This iteration of the employment index is based on anonymized data from approximately 210,000 small businesses, a subset of total Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll users. It covers the period from Nov. 24 to Dec. 23.

November 2013 Revenue Index

  • On a per-business basis, small business revenues saw an overall decline of 0.19 percent in November.
  • Of the industries tracked by the revenue index, the construction sector and ‘other services’ sector were the only ones to see revenues increase.
  • The real estate services industry showed the largest decline at 0.6 percent.

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 Nov. 1 to Nov. 30.

For more small business employment and revenue data, visit

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