Employees at small businesses made less money in November than in October and were working fewer hours, even though 55,000 new jobs were added at small businesses in November, according to Intuit.

The QuickBooks developer’s monthly Small Business Employment Index found that small business employment grew by 0.3 percent in November, providing an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent. However, the number of hours worked dropped 0.3 percent, while compensation declined 0.18 percent.

Since the hiring trend began in October 2009, small businesses have created 1,155,000 new jobs, according to Inuit, whose monthly index is based on figures from small businesses with fewer than 20 employees that use Intuit Online Payroll, over the period between October 24 and November 23.

"The seasonally adjusted small business employment growth rate is up this month, but the overall signals are mixed," said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the company’s Small Business Employment 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 growth rate for October that it previously reported 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 (see Intuit: 30,000 Small Biz Jobs Created in October).

Small business hourly employees worked an average of 107.8 hours in November, fiving them a 24.9-hour workweek on average. That represents a 0.3 percent decrease from the revised October figure of 108.1 hours.

Average monthly pay for all small business employees declined slightly to $2,637 in November. This represented a 0.18 percent decrease, compared to the October revised estimate of $2,642 per month. The equivalent annual wages would be about $31,600 per year, which is part-time work for many small business employees.

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