Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index June 2023

Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index, June 2023

Get the latest employment and hiring data insights for small businesses in the Canada by following the links below: 

Canada Index | About the Index | Methodology

Canada Index | Small Business Employment

+5,000 jobs | +0.09%

In Canada in May, small businesses with one to 19 employees employed 5,000 more people nationally. That’s a monthly increase of 0.09% to 5,267,400 jobs compared to the previous official benchmark of 5,262,400 in April’s Labour Force Survey, published by Statistics Canada.* This represents a change in course from the decline of -0.11% in April and -0.42% in March that the Index reported.

Small business employment dropped in less than half of Canada’s sectors. Sectors with the largest decreases were:

  • Utilities (NAICS 22) - including power, irrigation, and air conditioning supply - with a drop of -0.21% to 25,000 jobs 
  • Construction (NAICS 23) - including roofing, siding, and drywall contractors - with a drop of -0.12% to 559,300 jobs
  • Manufacturing (NAICS 31-33) - such as wineries, distilleries, and furniture manufacturers - with a drop of -0.07% to 297,000 jobs

But in most sectors, small business employment went up. Sectors with the largest increases were:

  • Education (NAICS 61) - such as such as exam preparation services and driving schools - with an increase of 0.35% to 181,000 jobs
  • Agriculture, natural resources, and mining (NAICS 11; 21) - such as orchards, farms, and drilling contractors - with an increase of 0.20% to 134,800 jobs
  • Finance and real estate (NAICS 52-53) - such as credit unions and property management companies - with an increase of 0.15% to 327,600 jobs

Only two regions experienced a drop in small business employment: British Columbia, with a decline of -0.06% to 835,900 jobs, and Ontario, with a decline of -0.01% to 1,951,700 jobs.

Québec had the largest increase in small business employment, with an uptick of 0.35% to 1,031,900 jobs.

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The challenging macroeconomic conditions have resulted in a substantial decline in small business activity, persisting until the most recent month. However, there is now a glimmer of positive news….

Ufuk Akcigit, the Arnold C. Harberger Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, said: “The interest rate hikes implemented in Canada appear to have yielded positive results, as they successfully reduced inflation from its peak above 8% down to 4.3%. Governor Macklem recently communicated his expectation for this downward trend to continue throughout the summer. Furthermore, the governor emphasized the central bank’s willingness to maintain the current interest rates and closely monitor the economy for the foreseeable future. Notably, the Canadian economy has remained relatively unaffected by the global banking crisis, demonstrating resilience in the face of external challenges.

“These encouraging indicators are further reinforced by the new Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index, which provides insights into the employment performance of small businesses with a maximum of 19 workers in Canada. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to inflationary environments and tight credit conditions. The challenging macroeconomic conditions have resulted in a substantial decline in small business activity, persisting until the most recent month. However, there is now a glimmer of positive news as May’s index is finally reporting a noteworthy growth rate of 0.09%. Of special importance is the remarkable growth observed in Quebec at the regional level, where the index recorded a robust expansion of 0.35%. Conversely, the largest declines were observed in British Columbia, with a decrease of -0.06%. At the sector level, "Education" demonstrated significant growth of 0.35%, while the “Utilities” sector experienced a decline of -0.21%.

“As policymakers maintain a vigilant watch over the Canadian economy, the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index emerges as a valuable tool in providing early insights into economic activity. With its ability to offer timely data, this index becomes particularly useful as an early indicator, aiding in the monitoring and assessment of economic trends in Canada.”

Get all the details from the interactive Small Business Index dashboard.

Media inquiries

Media contact details for QuickBooks in Canada can be found here on the Intuit website.

About the Index

The Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index is a timely new measure of small business employment and hiring in the US, Canada, and the UK. The Index launched in March 2023 and is updated monthly. The Index uses purpose-built economic models to normalize anonymized QuickBooks data to reflect the general population of small businesses in each country; it is not a reflection of Intuit’s business. The Index was developed in collaboration with leading economist Professor Ufuk Akcigit and an international team of researchers and academics.


The Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index creates aggregated data outputs from a sample of anonymized QuickBooks Online Payroll customer records which are calibrated using statistical methods to create modeled results which better reflect the general population of small businesses in each country, as represented by published official statistics. Statistical adjustment ensures the Index truly reflects employment and job vacancy changes rather than trends in the QuickBooks customer base. 

Read more or download the full methodology here

Rounded values

Total and monthly changes in employment and job vacancies have been rounded to the nearest hundred. Monthly changes and growth rates are calculated before total employment or job vacancy values are rounded. Rates have been rounded to the nearest hundredth.

Seasonal adjustments

The Index’s data insights are seasonally adjusted to limit the effect of seasonal patterns in employment and hiring throughout the year, which lead to regular fluctuations in workforce growth and contraction.

Employment growth formula

Employment growth(t) = [Employment(t)-Employment(t-1)]/[0.5*Employment(t)+0.5*Employment(t-1)]

*Employment levels

The Index produces a monthly prediction of employment growth rates by country, region, and sector. In order to translate these growth rates into the number of jobs/vacancies gained or lost, the growth rates are multiplied by the prior month’s predicted employment levels, except during the months when official statistics are published. During those months, the latest official employment levels that have been reported are used in the calculation instead of the Index’s prior month’s predicted employment levels. As a result, the Index’s predicted total employment levels may at times differ from the predicted growth rates. Official statistics are published at different frequencies depending on the country ranging from monthly to quarterly.

Time series

The Index uses data going back to January 2015 in Canada and the US and to January 2018 in the UK. Published at the earliest opportunity every month, the Index shows the number of people employed by small businesses (in Canada and the US) or the number of job vacancies at small businesses (in the UK) in the previous month and how that number has changed since the month before. The Index helps to eliminate almost all of the time lags in official statistics by providing estimated projections of what those statistics will ultimately show when they are published.

Sample sizes

The total sample across all three countries is around 424,000 small businesses. The Canadian sample is almost 66,000 small businesses. The US sample is almost 333,000 small businesses. The UK sample is almost 25,000 small businesses. The minimum sample sizes for regions or sectors to be included in the Index are 800 small businesses in Canada, 1,000 small businesses in the US, and 200 small businesses in the UK. 

Target populations

In Canada, the target population is small businesses with one to 19 employees. In the US and UK, the Index targets the populations of small businesses with one to nine employees. The differences ensure the Index’s data insights are consistent with official statistics in each country, which are used for benchmarking during the calibration process. Timely data insights for these populations of small businesses are particularly valuable since most datasets fail to cover this portion of the economy well. Please note: Unlike in Canada and the US, the UK Index uses job vacancy data for calibration rather than employment data because official employment statistics are not currently available for small businesses on a monthly basis. 

External data sources

External data sources used alongside the samples of anonymized QuickBooks Online Payroll customer data include:

Geographic regions

Industry sectors


This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Additional information and exceptions may apply. Applicable laws may vary by region, state or locality. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit does not have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit does not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.

We provide third-party links as a convenience and for informational purposes only. Intuit does not endorse or approve these products and services, or the opinions of these corporations or organizations or individuals. Intuit accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content on these sites.

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