Small businesses created 55,000 new jobs in September, while employees worked more hours and made more money, according to figures from Intuit Inc.’s Online Payroll clients.

Intuit’s Small Business Employment Index found that small business employment grew by 0.3 percent in September, equating to an annual growth rate of 3.3 percent. Hours worked and compensation both increased by 0.3 percent.

Based on these latest numbers and revised national employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Intuit revised upward the previously reported growth rate for August to 0.3 percent from 0.18 percent. This equates to 65,000 jobs added in August, up from a previously reported 35,000 jobs.

“This is very good considering that over the last 30 years real income has grown at a rate of about 1.5 percent per year,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the index. “We have some distance to go to make up for growth that didn't happen during the recession, but this is a good start. After all the uproar over the threatened European financial meltdown, good news is very welcome. These solid numbers may be due to the fact that residential property prices have increased for five months in a row. There are all kinds of small businesses linked to property, such as construction contractors, real estate agents and brokers.”

Hourly employees at small businesses worked an average of 110.4 hours in September, making for a 25.5-hour workweek, according to Intuit’s data. This was a 0.3 percent increase from the revised August figure of 110.0 hours.

Average monthly pay for all small business employees was $2,694 per month in September, according to Intuit’s figures. This was a 0.3 percent increase compared to the August revised estimate of $2,685 per month. The equivalent annual wages would be about $32,300 per year, which is part-time work for many small business employees.

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index is based on aggregate and anonymous online employment data from approximately 70,000 small business employers, each with fewer than 20 employees.

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