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Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index, June 2024

Small business employment: down by 24,700 jobs

In May, employment for US small businesses with one to nine employees decreased by 24,700 jobs compared to April—continuing 2024’s downward trend. These small businesses now employ 12,751,900 people, based on the Index’s latest projection from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, released last month.⁺

Year-over-year, small business employment in the US is down by 297,000 jobs and 2.30%.

Monthly growth rate: down by 0.19%

Compared to April’s small business employment total of 12,776,600 jobs, the monthly decrease in May was 0.19%.*

By sector: all 12 sectors saw contraction in May

In May, small business employment decreased in all 12 sectors covered by the Index. For the second month in a row, the information sector (NAICS 51) contracted the fastest, with a monthly decline of 0.35% (-1,000 jobs). Leisure and hospitality (NAICS 71-72) saw the largest change, down by 4,500 jobs month-over-month, with a monthly decline of 0.28%. Wholesale trade (NAICS 41-42) saw the slowest contraction, with a monthly decline of 0.06% (-300 jobs).

Small business employment decreased in all eight US regions

In May, small business employment decreased in all eight US regions. The western regions (the Far West and Southwest—Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) contracted the fastest, with a monthly decline of 0.26% each. The Far West decreased by 5,700 jobs and the Southwest by 4,100 jobs.

The Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia) had the largest change, decreasing by 6,900 jobs (-0.23%).

In addition to these eight regions, the Index tracks small business employment in 20 states. Employment decreased in 19 of the 20 states in April. Oregon saw the fastest contraction, decreasing by 0.32% and 500 jobs. California saw the largest change, with a decrease of 3,600 jobs (-0.23%). Wisconsin was the only state tracked by the Index to see employment growth in May, increasing by 0.11% month-over-month, adding 300 jobs.

More information

Get more data insights from the interactive Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index dashboard.

Media inquiries

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

Canada Index

The Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index is also published monthly in Canada. Get the latest small business employment insights for Canada here. 

UK Index

The Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index is also published monthly in the UK. Get the latest small business employment insights for the UK here. 

*Note: The Index’s economic model is refreshed every 2 to 4 months when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics updates its employment statistics. Official statistics are an essential component of the Index because they make it nationally representative of small business employment. Whenever they are updated, this provides new information that wasn’t previously available, which is why the Index’s latest estimates for small business employment sometimes differ from older estimates. The latest estimates always provide the most accurate picture of small business employment or hiring because they include the most up-to-date official statistics.

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.

Methodology

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 the US and Canada 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 the US and Canada) 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 US sample is almost 333,000 small businesses. The Canadian sample is almost 66,000 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 1,000 small businesses in the US, 800 small businesses in Canada, and 200 small businesses in the UK. 

Target populations

In the US and UK, the Index targets the populations of small businesses with one to nine employees. In Canada, the target population is small businesses with one to 19 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 the US and Canada, 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

Disclaimer

This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining professional 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 may occasionally provide third-party links as a convenience and for informational purposes only. Intuit does not endorse or approve the views or opinions of any corporation or organization or individual herein. Intuit accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, or legality, of third-party content.


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