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Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index October 2023

Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index, October 2023

+24,500  jobs | +0.19%


In the US in September, small businesses with one to nine employees created 24,500  jobs, an increase of 0.19% since August. Nationally, these businesses now employ  13,170,100 people, up from 13,145,600.* This is the fourth consecutive month of small business employment growth in the US.

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Recent developments provide a glimmer of hope, as indicated by the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index. Since June 2023, the index has been reporting consecutive months of positive small business employment growth, marking a noteworthy turnaround.
Professor Ufuk Akcigit

Small business employment grew in seven sectors in September

In September, small business employment grew in 7 of the 12 sectors covered by the Index. The top 3 sectors that added the most small business jobs in September were:  


  • Leisure and hospitality (NAICS 71 & 72): added 4,400 jobs, with a monthly growth rate of 0.28%. This sector now employs 1,554,100 people in hotels, bars, restaurants, theaters and other small businesses in the entertainment and recreation industries.


  • Education and health services (NAICS 61 & 62): added 2,200 jobs, with a monthly growth rate of 0.09%. This sector now employs 2,362,000 people in small businesses. Education includes business training, sports coaching, and language schools, as well as colleges and universities. Health services cover both physical and mental health care. The sector has consistently expanded small business employment since June.


  • Agriculture, natural resources, and mining (NAICS 11 & 21): added 900 jobs, with a monthly growth rate of 0.5%. This sector now employs 185,400 people in small businesses. Agriculture includes farming, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Natural resources and mining cover oil and gas extraction, raw materials, and associated support services. 


Small business employment decreased again in the manufacturing sector (NAICS 31-33), down by 0.21% to 1,240,800 jobs; with 2,600 fewer jobs compared to August. This was the largest decrease in jobs across all sectors covered by the Index. The fastest falling small business employment, however, was in the transport and warehousing sector (NAICS 48-49), with a monthly decrease of 0.54%, equivalent to 300 fewer jobs.

Small business employment grew in all eight US regions

The Southeast region created the most small business jobs in September — 4,300 in total — with a monthly growth rate of 0.14%. This is the fourth consecutive month of growth for the region, which now has 3,160,200 small business jobs. The Southeast includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Index provides employment data insights for the following four states in the Southeast:


  • Florida: created 2,900 small business jobs with 0.35% monthly growth to a total of 831,400 jobs
  • Virginia: created 200 small business jobs with 0.07% monthly growth to a total of 324,900 jobs
  • North Carolina: lost 100 small business jobs, down by 0.01% to a total of 400,000 jobs
  • Georgia: lost 900 small business jobs, down by 0.22% to a total of 400,000 jobs.


The Plains region had the highest rate of small business job growth in September at 0.23% — adding 2,100 small business jobs for a new total of 897,600. This region includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.


Ufuk Akcigit, the Arnold C. Harberger Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, said: “Recent developments provide a glimmer of hope, as indicated by the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index. Since June 2023, the index has been reporting consecutive months of positive small business employment growth, marking a noteworthy turnaround. This rebound aligns with the decelerating inflation trend. Core inflation registered a consecutive decrease last month, sliding from 5.6% to 4.3% since March 2023. 


“The resurgence in employment became apparent in the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index, which indicated a 0.19% uptick in employment among businesses with fewer than ten employees. It's worth noting that this increase, while positive, shows a somewhat softer performance compared to the 0.59% surge observed in August.


“Mixed signals were visible at the sectoral level in small businesses. The agriculture, natural resources, and mining sector once again drove the highest growth across sectors at 0.50%, but this growth falls behind the 1.27% growth recorded by the sector in August. Energy prices are much lower than they were a year ago, which helps explain stronger activity across sectors, but prices increased by 10.5% in September from August. The leisure and hospitality sector recorded the largest net increase of 4,400 in employment by small firms with employment levels reaching back to pre-pandemic levels in the sector. Meanwhile, certain sectors faced more pronounced challenges. These include the transportation and warehousing sector which recorded the fastest contraction of 0.54% in employment in September and the manufacturing sector recorded the largest net decline with 2,600 jobs estimated to be lost in September. Steep increases in the costs of auto loan payments might have been a key contributing factor to these declines.”


More information

Get all the details by region, state, and sector from the interactive 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, a few days after the US and Canada. Get the latest small business hiring insights for the UK on September 7.

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 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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