For much of the past year, news about the U.S. economy has been mixed. One minute the economy seems like its on track for a sustained recovery and the next it's headed back into a recession.
Persistent, economic uncertainty has been especially difficult for small business owners, many of whom have delayed expansion plans or capital projects as they waited for signs of solid economic growth. Making good business decisions is an important part of owning a business. And according to a recent report by Intuit, entrepreneurs may need to put decisions about business expansions on hold for a little while longer.
Intuit's latest Small Business Revenue and Employment Indexes showed that employment in small businesses (companies with fewer than 20 employees) declined by 10,000 jobs again in October -- the same number of jobs that were lost in September.
Small business hourly wage earners worked an average of 107.1 hours in October, down 42 minutes from September for a 24.7-hour workweek. Likewise, total monthly wages dropped another $3 to $2,791 in October.
The October employment declines are the continuation of a downward trend that began earlier this year. Since May, small businesses have lost 65,000 jobs -- eroding the impressive job gains that were reported in the early months of 2012.
Small business revenue is also down, experiencing a seventh straight month of decline in October. Since February 2012, revenue has dropped by 2.5 percent for an annualized decline of 4.3 percent.
Economist Susan Woodward summed up the revenue situation many small businesses are facing: "The decline in small business revenue is consistent with the decline in small business employment over roughly the same period. During the recession, small business revenue fell a dramatic 13 percent, but then recovered strongly. The rise in revenue from the lowest point of the recession -- April 2009 -- to February 2012 was 15 percent, which surpassed even the previous peak in revenue. Unfortunately, we've seen only a decline these past seven months."
For more information about Small Business Revenue and Employment Indexes, visit the Intuit website.
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