WASHINGTON, July 6 Hiring by U.S. small
businesses slowed in June but employers increased hours and
raised compensation for existing workers, an independent survey
showed on Wednesday.
Intuit, a payrolls processing company, said small
businesses added 45,000 jobs last month after increasing
employment by 60,000 in May.
The survey is based on responses from about 66,000
employers at businesses with fewer than 20 employees which use
the Intuit Online Payroll and covered the period from May 24 to
It comes ahead of the release on Friday of the government's
more comprehensive employment report for June. Nonfarm payrolls
are expected to have increased 90,000, picking up a bit from
May's meager 54,000 gain, according to a Reuters poll.
The labor market is being watched anxiously for signs that
the economy is positioned for a second-half comeback after
activity in the first six months of the year was curbed by
rising commodity prices and supply chain disruptions from Japan
following a devastating earthquake in March.
The Intuit small business employment index rose 0.2 percent
in June after advancing 0.3 percent in June.
Given the uncertain outlook, employers are opting to boost
hours for existing workers instead of hiring. Average hours for
hourly-paid employees in small businesses rose 0.2 percent in
June after slipping 0.1 percent in May, while average monthly
pay increased 0.2 percent after dipping 0.1 percent in May.
"It's good to see an increase in the number of hours
worked. It's not clear what's driving this rise," said Susan
Woodward, the economist who helped to develop the survey.
Woodward, however, noted that other data showed a recovery
in both monthly revenues and income for industries involved in
housing, including construction and real estate services.
"These recoveries are consistent with house prices rising,
nationally, for the first time in many months," she said.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by James Dalgleish)