Small business employment continued to show growth in January, with hours worked and wages also showing modest increases, according to payroll figures from Intuit.

The company’s monthly report found that small business employment grew by 0.3 percent in January, equating to an annual growth rate of more than 4 percent, or approximately 70,000 new jobs created nationwide. The index is based on figures from small businesses that use Intuit Online Payroll.

Based on the latest figures, Intuit revised upward the employment growth rate for December to 0.4 percent, equating to 80,000 jobs added for the month, and a nearly 5 percent annual growth rate. Since the growth trend first began in October 2009, small business jobs have increased by a revised estimate of just over 1 million.

“A substantial fraction of the new jobs in the recovery have been created by small businesses,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the index. “This month’s numbers are stronger than last month, and they look better in every category. These job gains contrast sharply with mild job gains for the overall economy. As small businesses generally recover sooner than big businesses, this continued growth is quite encouraging for economic recovery.”

Small business hourly employees worked an average of 108.1 hours in January, translating to a 24.9-hour work week. This is a 0.6 percent increase from the revised December figure of 107.4 hours.

Average monthly pay for all small business employees was $2,619 per month in January, a 0.3 percent increase from the December revised estimate of $2,612 per month. This is just over 3 percent at an annual rate. The figure translates to wages of about $31,400 per year, which is part-time work for many small business employees.

In addition, the Intuit index showed small business employment was up for many states across the country, with the highest month-over-month boosts in Maryland, New Jersey and Washington, which posted increases of 0.8 percent for Maryland and New Jersey, and 0.6 percent for Washington. The only exception was North Carolina, which posted a modest 0.1 percent drop.

The states that comprise the index reflect those for which Intuit Online Payroll has more than 1,000 small business firms represented. The month-to-month changes are seasonally adjusted and reflect trends in the overall economy.

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index is based on aggregate and anonymous online employment data from nearly 60,000 small business employers, each with fewer than 20 employees. More information is available at www.intuitinc.com/payrollindex.

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