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Small Biz Numbers Up in February

Mark Marich

When we last reported in on the Small Business Employment Index, released monthly by Intuit, it was sharing good news and bad on the January numbers. One month later and the picture is a little brighter as both jobs and wages are heading in the right direction.

In February, U.S. small businesses added roughly 45,000 employees—the third straight month with job gains (Dec. 2011 was +57,000 and Jan. 2012 was +55,000). The increase puts small business employment up more than six percent since January 2010.

Unlike the January figures, average monthly pay also went up in the latest Index—by 0.15 percent or $4 per worker.

According to Susan Woodward, the economist behind the Index, “The hiring rate is slightly down on a seasonally adjusted basis, and sits at about half of what it was before the recession was underway. The low hiring rate reflects the reluctance of employees to leave their jobs in such an unsecure job market, so employers do not need to hire to replace them. This phenomenon is present in firms of all sizes, and is not unique to small firms.”

Regionally, all parts of the U.S. experienced gains except for the East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) which dipped a miniscule 0.03%.

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