Employment at small businesses in the U.S. grew a slight amount in March, with employees earning more money and working more hours, but revenues mostly dropping, according to Intuit.

The monthly Intuit Small Business and Revenue Indexes indicated that employment increased by only 0.06 percent in March, adding 10,000 new jobs, for an annualized growth rate of 0.7 percent. Approximately 20 million people are now employed in businesses with 1 to 19 employees. Average monthly compensation grew by 0.4 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, or $12, the same increase reported in February. Average monthly hours worked increased by 0.2 percent, or 18 minutes, compared to the increase of 12 minutes reported in February.

This employment index is based on data from Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll, covering the period from Feb. 24 through March 23.

"National employment is growing slowly, and small business employment is growing even more slowly," said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the indexes. "While overall employment has risen 4.5 percent in three years, small business employment has risen only 1.4 percent over the same three years—an annual rise of half a percent per year."

Hourly employees at small businesses worked an average of 108.3 hours in March, up slightly from the revised figure of 108 hours in February, making for a 25-hour work week.

Average monthly pay for small business employees increased to $2,741 in March, up 0.4 percent from the February revised figure of $2,729 per month. The equivalent yearly wages would be about $32,900 per year, which is part-time work for almost half of small business employees.

A state-by-state breakdown of employment growth indicated that most states saw increases in March. Among the 34 states tracked by Intuit’s Small Business Employment Index, employment increased in 24, remained flat in one and declined in nine. Continuing a trend seen in the February findings, Nevada saw the largest increase. Alabama, Wisconsin and Illinois showed the greatest declines.

The February Small Business Revenue Index showed a 0.6 percent overall revenue decline on a per business basis.

“The only two industry sectors where average revenue rose over the last year and last month are the construction and real estate services industries,” said Woodward. “They both benefit from the small but clear recovery in construction.”

The retail and professional services industries saw the greatest revenue declines in February, at 0.9 percent each. Health care revenues declined the least in February, at 0.13 percent. This index is based on data from QuickBooks Online, covering the period from Feb. 1-28.

As small businesses slowly recover, Intuit and LinkedIn are hosting the Hire Smart Small Business Event to help employers make the right decisions when hiring workers. Hire Smart is a free event that will be held at Intuit's Mountain View, Calif. campus on April 27 and will be streamed live online. The event will offer guest speakers, expert advisors, and free resources to assist new and growing businesses. To register, visit www.HireSmartNow.com.

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