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Intuit: Employment Index Shows Mixed Signals

December 1, 2011

Small businesses created 55,000 new jobs last month, but employees continued to work fewer hours and earned less money.

That was according to results of this month’s update of the Intuit Small Business Employment Index, covering the period between Oct. 24 and Nov. 23. The monthly report found that small business employment grew by only 0.3 percent in November, equating to an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent. Hours worked and compensation fell by 0.3 percent and 0.18 percent respectively.

Since the hiring trend began in October 2009, small businesses have created 1,155,000 jobs. The Index is based on figures from small businesses with fewer than 20 employees that use Intuit Online Payroll.

“The seasonally adjusted small business employment growth rate is up this month, but the overall signals are mixed,” said Susan Woodward, an economist who worked with Intuit to create the Index. “In addition to the rise in the employment growth rate, the hiring rate, or the proportion of new employee hires, is up also, as is the hourly wage. On the other hand, total compensation is down, part-time workers aren’t getting as many hours, and there are fewer hourly employees who are working full time. Overall, this data is the best we could hope for given the uncertainty of the situation in Europe.”

Based on November’s numbers and revised national employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Intuit revised upward the previously reported growth rate for October to 0.3 percent from 0.14 percent. This equates to 60,000 jobs added in October, up from a previously reported 30,000 jobs.

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