U.S. small business employment declined in October, as did compensation and hours worked for their hourly employees, according to figures from Intuit.

This is the fourth consecutive month of employment declines for small business. In addition, their revenues overall declined 0.3 percent in September.

Those monthly Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes report found that employment decreased 0.06 percent in October.  Average monthly compensation fell 0.4 percent in October, with average monthly pay reaching the equivalent of $2,657, down $11 from September. Average monthly hours worked by hourly employees fell 0.4 percent in October to 106.3 hours, down approximately 24 minutes from September.

The employment index is based on data from Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll, covering the period from Sept. 24 through Oct. 23.

“Since the recovery began in March 2010, small business employment has grown slowly and fitfully, by only 1.9 percent, compared to the 5.5 percent growth in total payroll employment,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the indexes. “However, this month’s decline amounts to the loss of about 10,000 jobs, which is far from the worst month that we’ve seen, but it is the worst since the recovery began. This is the fourth month in a row that small business employment has declined, and we are now looking at a loss of 17,000 jobs since June 2013.”

Small business hourly employees worked an average of 106.3 hours in October, which is a 25-minute decrease from September’s figure of 106.7 hours, making for a 24.5-hour work week. The monthly hours worked rate has been trending down for more than two years, since July 2011.
Average monthly pay for small business employees fell to $2,657 in October, down from $2,668 in September. The equivalent yearly wages would be about $31,900. This average includes wages that small business owners pay to themselves.

Revenue Declines Across all Sectors
The September revenue index showed small business revenue declined across all sectors, with an overall decrease of 0.3 percent on a per-business basis. This index is based on data from QuickBooks Online, covering the period from Sept. 1-30.

The professional services industry sector showed the largest decline, of 0.8 percent. The construction and the health care services sectors followed, each dropping by 0.6 percent. Real estate services showed the smallest decline, at 0.02 percent.

“Real estate services revenues have been consistently recovering since March 2009, so this month’s decline is a minor hiccup in the industry’s overall recovery,” said Woodward.

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