U.S. small business payrolls rise 55,000 in Nov

WASHINGTON Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:12am EST

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WASHINGTON Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. small businesses created 55,000 jobs in November but employees worked fewer hours and earned less money, according to a survey on Tuesday that highlighted the still weak labor market conditions.

Intuit, a payrolls processing company, said the increase in small business employment compared to October's upwardly revised 60,000 count, previously reported as a 30,000 gain.

The survey is based on responses from about 71,000 small businesses with fewer than 20 employees that use the Intuit Online Payroll system.

It covered the period from Oct. 24 to Nov. 23.

The average work week for small business employees fell 0.3 percent to 24.9 hours, while the average monthly salary slipped 0.18 percent to $2,637.

"Total compensation is down, part-time workers aren't getting as many hours, and there are fewer hourly employees who are working full time," said Susan Woodward, the economist who helped to develop the survey.

"Overall, this data is the best we could hope for given the uncertainty of the situation in Europe."

The government will release its closely watched employment report for November on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls likely increased 122,000, according to a Reuters survey, after rising 80,000 in October.

The unemployment rate is seen holding at 9.0 percent.

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