Small-business employment grew slightly in July, but at a slower rate than in the past, according to a report by Intuit, while wages and hours worked by employees increased at a much faster pace.

Intuit’s monthly Small Business Employment Index report, based on figures from small businesses that use Intuit Online Payroll, found that small-business employment grew by 0.2 percent in July, equating to a 2.4 percent annual growth rate. This translates to approximately 40,000 new jobs nationwide in July, a decrease from June's revised estimate of 45,000 jobs. Since the growth trend began in October 2009, small-business jobs have increased by 330,000.

Both wages and hours worked increased by 0.7 and 0.9 percent respectively. Monthly hours worked increased significantly in July to 109.1 hours, compared to a revised estimate of 108.2 hours in June. This translates to wages of about $31,500 per year for all employees, and a 25.2-hour work week for hourly employees.

Compensation grew by 0.7 percent in July to $2,624 per month, up from a revised estimate of $2,606 per month in June.

Small-business employment is slightly up across most of the country. Mountain states saw the largest increase in percentage, followed by the South Atlantic and the Pacific Coast. For the states in which the index has more than 1,000 small firms represented, Maryland saw the greatest growth, while New Jersey is the only state that saw a slight decrease in employment.

“While employment is up this month, it is, like last month, up less than the month before,” said Susan Woodward, a nationally recognized economist who worked with Intuit to create the index. “While this slower growth rate is disheartening, the news is not all bad. Both compensation and hours worked are dramatically up, while employment is slightly up across most of the country. These latter signs indicate a continued general recovery despite slowing growth in employment.”

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