The Intuit, Inc. (
) Small Business Employment Index
found that employment at small businesses - which are the primary
engine of new-job creation - rose in June, but at an increasingly
slow pace. Some of this, however, was due existing workers picking
up slack as wages and hours worked increased.
The rate of increase for the index for July was 0.2 percent, which
works out to an annual rate of 2.4 percent. Approximately 40,000
jobs were added by small businesses in the last month, down a bit
from 45,000 in June.
Employment remains the persistent laggard in an economy that has
several positive indicators. Corporate revenue and earnings are up,
and some sectors are staging respectable recoveries.
That's not translating into real job creation, though - and
Intuit's report shows one reason why this might be. In the same
period that jobs were up 0.4 percent, wages increased 0.7 percent -
to an average of $2,624 per month in July - and hours jumped almost
a full percentage point to 109.1 hours per month.
"With inflation running so low, this is a substantial increase in
real compensation...It appears that small businesses are busy, and
need additional help, but are asking their existing people to work
more hours rather than hiring more people," said Susan Woodward, an
economist who aided Intuit with the study.