Intuit Special: 2012 Small Business Employment and Revenue Report

by Tammy Lam

3 min read

A complement to the monthly Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes, Intuit’s inaugural Small Business Employment and Revenue Report draws from government reports and anonymized data from the company’s suite of small business payroll and financial management products to provide an overview of the state of American small businesses during the past year. The report summarizes the small business hiring, revenue, hours worked, and compensation highlights of 2012, while also recapping employment at the national and state level. 

Employment Recap

National small business employment came full circle in 2012, according to government, Intuit Online Payroll, and QuickBooks Online Payroll data through Dec. 23. The employment rate began a monthly decline in April before bottoming out in September and reversing course through the end of the year. December small business employment exceeded its January level by 0.12 percent, a rise of 24,000 jobs over the year.

The hiring rate that fell steadily through the recession bottomed out in 2009, and has continued to hover at a monthly rate of approximately 5.5 percent. The change in hiring over 2012 was minimal, decreasing by 2 percent from January to December.


  • Small business employment peaked in April, and was at its lowest in September.
  • Compensation increased 2.74 percent from January to December, while average monthly hours worked decreased 2.57 percent.
  • Total small business jobs in December 2012 were approximately 19.9 million.
  • The pre-recession (March 2007) small business job count was 21.2 million.


State-by-state View

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index tracks employment for states in which Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll has more than 1,000 small business users. Out of 33 states, 27 saw increases in employment from January to December, while two remained flat and four saw decreases.


  • Texas, Utah, and Indiana were the top states for employment growth.
  • Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Kansas showed the biggest employment declines.
  • 70 percent of the 33 states saw their lowest employment levels in the first two months of 2012.
  • 44 percent of the 33 states saw their highest employment levels in the last two months of 2012.

2012 Employment Change by State:

State % Change Jan-Dec 2012 Lowest Employment Level  Highest Employment Level 
USA 0.12 September April
Alabama -0.02 August April
Arizona 0.91 February December
California 0.77 January December
Colorado 0.77 January December
Connecticut -0.40 December May
Florida 0.17 June December
Georgia 0.46 January December
Illinois 0.02 February May
Indiana 0.94 January November
Iowa 0.07 February June
Kansas -0.04 December October
Kentucky 0.70 January May
Louisiana 0.29 January May
Maryland 0.05 September April
Massachusetts 0.52 February September
Michigan 0.05 January September
Minnesota 0.70 January December
Missouri 0.06 September April
Nevada 0.00 October January
New Jersey 0.00 January September
New York 0.37 February November
North Carolina 0.16 January May
Ohio 0.69 January September
Oklahoma 0.90 January December
Oregon 0.29 February November
Pennsylvania 0.03 September April
South Carolina 0.36 September December
Tennessee 0.11 January May
Texas 1.04 January December
Utah 0.99 January December
Virginia 0.21 February May
Washington 0.66 January November
Wisconsin -0.21 December May

Revenue Recap

Small business revenues overall declined 1.2 percent from January to November, though the rate of decline began slowing toward the end of the year. This is based on anonymized data from 100,000 QuickBooks Online customers from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30.


  • Real estate was the only industry that saw a boost from January to November, at an increase of 1.9 percent.
  • The retail and health care industries saw the largest proportional revenue decline, at 3.2 and 3 percent respectively.
  • The professional services and construction sectors saw the smallest revenue decline, at 1.4 and 0.8 percent respectively.

2012 Revenue Change by Industry

Sector % Change Jan-Nov 2012


Real estate and rental and leasing


Retail trade


Health care and social assistance


Other services


Accommodation, food services, and drinking places


Professional, scientific, and technical services




Behind the Numbers

The Intuit Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes provide unique, near real-time information each month on the activity of the smallest businesses in the U.S. in terms of revenue, hiring, and compensation trends. The Employment Index is based on anonymized, aggregated data from 170,000 small business employers, a subset of users that use Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll. The Revenue Index is based on anonymized, aggregated data from approximately 100,000 small businesses, a subset of users that use Intuit’s QuickBooks Online financial management offering and are matched in Dun & Bradstreet’s small business industry classifications. Together, the indexes provide a more complete picture of the economic health of the nation’s small businesses. More information on the Intuit Small Business Indexes is available at

Related Articles

What’s The Difference In Salon And Spa Employment Classifications?

Calling a salon or spa a small business is like calling $250…

Read more

How to Create a Profit Sharing Plan for Your Business

As an employer, you may struggle to align the overall success of…

Read more

The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Easy Quarterly Taxes

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported in 2016 that the average…

Read more