Small business employment grew slightly in February, even as hours worked declined and compensation rose, according to the latest Intuit Small Business Employment Index.
Specifically, the report estimates small business employment climbed by 0.2 percent last month - adding roughly 45,000 new jobs - reflecting a year-over-year growth rate of 2.9 percent. Meanwhile, hours worked fell slightly by 0.04 percent - an otherwise negligible shift that was complemented by a 0.15 percent rise in average monthly compensation.
"We saw another month of tepid improvement for small businesses in February, echoing pretty much all of the other indicators of economic activity," said Intuit economist Susan Woodward. "As an overall trend, employment is up modestly, but the number of hours worked by hourly employees is about the same as last month, seasonally adjusted."
Last week, in a rare bipartisan move, Congress moved to pass a series of bills that would ease the regulatory and tax burden on small companies, which employ roughly half of the private sector workforce. President Barack Obama is said to also support the measures.