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Small Business Revenue and Hours Worked Both Down in February

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Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq:INTU) today issued its monthly Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes. Below are topline results from each of the reports:

Small Business Employment Index

  • U.S. small businesses added 15,000 new jobs in February, making for more than 910,000 jobs added since March 2010.
  • Hourly employees worked an average of 108.4 hours in February, down 5.4 minutes, or 0.09 percent, from January’s revised figure.
  • Small business employees’ monthly pay decreased by 0.05 percent, with average compensation reaching $2,760, down $1 from January.

These findings come from the monthly Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Employment Index and are based on data from Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll, covering the period from Jan. 24 – Feb. 23.

Small Business Revenue Index

  • Revenues per small business decreased by 0.2 percent in January, which translates to a decline of 1.8 percent when annualized.
  • The industry with the largest increase in revenues per business is Other Services, which showed a rise of 4.1 percent on an annualized basis, followed by Construction, with an annualized rise of 3 percent.
  • The largest decline was in Real Estate Services, which fell 9.9 percent on an annualized basis, and 0.9 percent in January

This index is based on data from QuickBooks Online, covering the period from Jan. 1-31.

A Closer Look at Results

  • The Small Business Employment Index

In February, small business employment expanded modestly. “In the years since the recovery began, small business employment has not expanded as fast as employment for larger businesses; In February, this trend continued. While the national hourly wage dipped from November to December 2014, reversing some of the gains from previous months, the small business hourly wage did not dip, and has not dipped in January or February either,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who works with Intuit to produce the Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes.

“Next month will be the five-year anniversary of restored employment growth for small business. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees now employ 20. 6 million people, about 17.4 percent of private employment and 15 percent of all workers,” Woodward said.

The hourly wage for February was up by 3 cents, but hours worked were down 6 minutes for the month, resulting in a drop of total monthly compensation per employee of $1.50. The fraction of hourly workers who worked full-time was down slightly also, however the hiring rate was up again. All figures are seasonally adjusted.

The fastest growth has been concentrated in the West and Mountain states, with Oregon, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Nevada leading. The states with the slowest employment growth were around the Great Lakes (notably Michigan and Minnesota) and New England, especially Massachusetts. These states have seen low employment growth for four months running now. “Note the Intuit figures are adjusted for seasonality but not for unusual weather, and this winter has been especially cold in the Northeast and Midwest.” Total compensation rose in the central and mountain census divisions, but fell on the coasts.

  • Small Business Revenue Index

After falling slightly in December 2014, small business revenues fell again in January 2015. Revenues declined at an annual rate of 1.8% in January.

“Until this month of declining small business revenues, we had not seen a decline in the average revenue per business across all industries since April 2009, when small business revenues began to grow again,” said Woodward. “As with the employment numbers, these figures are seasonally adjusted and the decline is not attributable to the overall drop in economic activity seen every January, but the decline may be the result of the unusually cold and snowy winter in the East and Midwest.”

For much of the recovery, Professional Services showed the fastest revenue growth. But over the past 6 months, both Other Services and Construction have grown faster than Professional Services, as they continued to do in January. Growth in revenues for Health Care businesses was middling, 0.1 percent for the month, 1.2 percent annualized. “There are interesting and persistent differences in the volatility of revenues across industries,” said Woodward.

About the Intuit Small Business Indexes

The Intuit Small Business Indexes provide unique, near real-time information each month on the activity of the smallest businesses in the U.S. in terms of revenue, hiring and compensation trends.

The Employment Index is based on anonymized, non-identifiable aggregated data from approximately 251,800 small business employers, a subset of users that use Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll. The Revenue Index is based on anonymized, non-identifiable aggregated data from approximately 150,000 small businesses, a subset of users that use Intuit’s QuickBooks Online financial management offering and are matched in Dun & Bradstreet‘s small business industry classifications.

Together, the indexes provide a more complete picture of the economic health of the nation’s small businesses. More information on the Intuit Small Business Indexes is available at index.intuit.com.

About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. creates business and financial management solutions that simplify the business of life for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals.

Its flagship products and services include QuickBooks(R), Quicken(R) and TurboTax(R), which make it easier to manage small businesses and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. Mint.com provides a fresh, easy and intelligent way for people to manage their money, while Demandforce(R) offers marketing and communication tools for small businesses. ProSeries(R) and Lacerte(R) are Intuit’s leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants.

Founded in 1983, Intuit had revenue of $4.5 billion in its fiscal year 2014. The company has approximately 8,000 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.

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