Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees added 18,000 jobs to their payrolls this month, according to payroll figures from Intuit.

The hiring continues an upward trend that began in mid-June 2009, based on data from approximately 57,000 small-business employers using Intuit Online Payroll. However, Intuit’s June Small Business Employment Index also showed that the pace of hiring is slowing.

“Employment rose, but the rise was at a slower rate for June than for previous months,” said Dr. Susan Woodward, an economist who worked with Intuit to create the monthly index. “At this point in a recovery, the labor market is still sufficiently slack, so small businesses should be hiring vigorously. They are hiring, but not as fast as in the first quarter.”

Compensation grew by 0.3 percent in June among the small businesses in the index, about the same rate as in the past five months. Compensation averaged $2,577 per month in June, compared to $2,570 per month in May.

Monthly hours worked increased by 0.05 percent in June to 103.5 hours, compared to a revised 103.4 hours in May. That translates to wages of about $30,900 per year for all employees and a 23.5-hour week for hourly employees.

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