Small businesses grew employment in their establishments an impressive 0.3 percent in December, translating to about 57,000 new jobs created nationwide. Hours worked by small business employees also rose, while compensation per employee remained flat in December. Released this morning, the Intuit Small Business Employment Index December report sheds light on the state of small business employment based on data from the smallest of small businesses who use Intuit Online Payroll.
“Small business is still the most vigorous sector of the employment picture,” says Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with us to create the Index. “We generally see a rise in employment for all businesses in December, but this year it is unusually strong. We can hardly see the recovery in overall national employment, but among small businesses, the recovery, albeit slow, is unambiguous.”
Average monthly pay for small business employees was $2,607 per month in December, equaling about $31,300 per year. “The weakness of the overall employment picture is still reflected in small business compensation,” said Woodward. “Though small businesses are hiring and asking their people to work longer hours, they don’t have to pay more to get people. While compensation is flat, these numbers don’t mean that people didn’t get overtime and bonuses in December – they did. But on a seasonal and trend-adjusted basis, compensation is not up.”
While compensation slipped, hours worked climbed 0.2 percent month-over-month. Small business hourly employees worked an average of 107.5 hours in December, translating to a 24.8-hour work week. “Hours are still strong,” added Woodward. “We might expect that after months of high hours per employee, that businesses would hire and hours would fall back to normal. Instead, we see hiring up and hours worked up also. These are good signs for the recovery.”
Looking at the small business employment picture by region, we saw continued job growth everywhere except the West North Central division, which has showed job losses since July 2010. The state of Washington recorded the strongest increase in small business employment with 0.6 percent growth month-over-month.