Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index September 2023

Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index, September 2023

+76,700 jobs | 0.59%

In the US in August, small businesses with one to nine employees created 76,700 jobs — an increase of 0.59% since July. Nationally, these businesses now employ 13,145,600 people, up from 13,068,900.*

This is the third consecutive month of small business employment growth and the largest monthly increase since the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index was launched in March 2023.

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The Index revealed a remarkable surge in employment among small businesses during August.
Professor Ufuk Akcigit

Small business employment grew in ten sectors in August

In August, small business employment grew in 10 of the 12 sectors covered by the Index. Manufacturing (NAICS 31-33) and information (NAICS 51) were the only sectors without growth, down by 300 jobs (0.02% decrease) and 200 jobs (0.06% decrease), respectively. 

The top three sectors that added the most small business jobs in August were:  

  • Education and health services (NAICS 61 & 62): added 15,400 jobs, with a monthly growth rate of 0.66%. Education includes business training, sports coaching, and language schools, as well as colleges and universities. Health services cover both physical and mental health care.

  • Professional and business services (NAICS 54, 55-56): added 11,100 jobs, with a monthly growth rate of 0.50%. This sector includes the legal and accounting professions, technical services such as engineering, architecture and design, and business services such as recruitment and administrative support.

  • Leisure and hospitality (NAICS 71 & 72): added 7,200 jobs, with a monthly growth rate of 0.47%. This sector includes hotels, bars, and restaurants as well as arts and recreation businesses.

For the second consecutive month, the fastest growing sector was agriculture, natural resources, and mining (NAICS 11 & 21), with a monthly growth rate of 1.27% — creating 2,300 jobs. This is the fastest monthly growth rate posted by any sector since the Index was launched in March 2023. 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 grew in all eight US regions

The Southeast region created the most small business jobs in August — 19,700 in total — with a monthly growth rate of 0.63%. This is the third consecutive month of growth for the region, after four months of decline. The Southeast includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Index also provides employment data insights for the following four states:

  • Florida: created 5,200 small business jobs with 0.63% monthly growth
  • North Carolina: created 2,700 small business jobs with 0.67% monthly growth
  • Virginia: created 2,200 small business jobs with 0.68% monthly growth
  • Georgia: created 1,000 small business jobs with 0.24% monthly growth 

The Great Lakes region had the highest rate of small business job growth in August at 0.95% — adding 18,100 small business jobs . This region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The Index provides additional monthly employment data insights for Illinois, where small businesses added 3,700 jobs, a monthly increase of 0.73%. 

Ufuk Akcigit, the Arnold C. Harberger Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, said: “Small business employment exhibited a steady decline over a span of 10 consecutive months following its peak around the middle of 2022. However, this prolonged downturn has recently displayed encouraging signs of abating. Notably, the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index revealed a remarkable 0.59% surge in employment among small businesses during August, hinting at a potential reversal of the previous downward trend. This achievement not only marks the third consecutive monthly upswing but also stands as a substantial advancement from the previous month's 0.43% job growth—an indication that a more robust recovery may be coming.

"It's important to recognize the intriguing recent pattern: during a period when the overall labor market was stable, small businesses experienced the opposite with negative job growth. However, when the broader labor market began to exhibit a more relaxed stance, small businesses demonstrated an improvement in their job growth. 

"The Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index shows a positive growth trend across nearly all sectors. Notably, energy prices, which have been on a downward trajectory since March 2023, continued their descent through August, registering a substantial 12.5% year-on-year decrease. This decline spurred an increase in energy demand and a simultaneous reduction in costs across various sectors. Additionally, the price of commodities, excluding food and energy components, witnessed a marginal decrease of 0.3% over the past month, prompting an increase in demand for commodities.

"A positive growth trend has persisted across all regions of the Index. Notably, the Great Lakes region emerged as a frontrunner, achieving a robust 0.95% growth. Illinois, in particular, has reached a level of small business employment similar to before the pandemic, demonstrating a remarkable rebound.” 

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

More information

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.


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


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.

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