Next index release: N/A
  • Represents the smallest businesses in the U.S., which
    employ more than half of non-farm private employees
  • Our data comes directly from Intuit software—not from surveys
  • The only small business indexes updated monthly from real data
  • Based on a statistically sound methodology

Intuit Small Business Indexes

Thank you for visiting This was previously the webpage for Intuit’s Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes.

As of 11/23/2015, the Indexes are no longer in production

If you have questions or would like more information about the Intuit Indexes, please reach out to Sarah Voros at

Our indexes are designed to provide statistically sound data and insight into small business trends and behavior. We collect actual data from Intuit software users, analyze the numbers, and publish monthly so you can follow the pulse of small business today. What sets our indexes apart?

Data View:
Time Period:
Export Data to CSV

About the Intuit Small Business Employment Index

Overview | Methodology | FAQS | Archive | About the Economist

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index measures the current level of employment for firms with fewer than 20 employees. The Employment Index data is released monthly and includes geographic detail on small business employment, compensation per employee, and hours worked. Intuit publishes the report at the beginning of each month just prior to the Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data is derived from approximately 265,000 small business employers, a subset of 1.2 million businesses using Intuit Payroll. These smallest employers are important to the economy as they comprise 87 percent of the total U.S. private employer base and employ 20.7 million people. 1

As the leading provider of small business financial and business management tools, Intuit has a wealth of information about small business activity. In conjunction with the Intuit Small Business Revenue Index, the Intuit Small Business Indexes provide a deeper understanding on small businesses and the unique impact they have on the economy.

Complete Methodology White Paper

Small Business Employment Index

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index is derived from data from approximately 265,000 of Intuit's payroll service customers. Changes in employment are calculated using a "same-stores" method. Each month, we compute the percentage change in employment from one month to the next using exactly the same set of customers ("same-stores"). The set of customers changes each month, so the measurement is the change for each pair of months for customers who are present in both the earlier and the later month.

We build a model, using regression, of small business employment that relates this month's level of small business employment to last months' total payroll employment, private payroll employment, construction payroll employment, self-employment, and the same-store index series from Intuit's customers. We use this model to forecast current small business employment.

Considering the Intuit data for employment exhibits strong seasonal effects, the resulting estimates are seasonally adjusted.

The index should not be interpreted as a measure of employment changes for Intuit's customers, but for national small business employment as a whole.

Small Business Employee Hours Worked

For the hours per employee series, we divide total monthly hours for hourly employees by the total number of such employees and report the seasonally-adjusted trend.

Small Business Employee Compensation

For monthly compensation per employee, we divide the total compensation for all employees (including the business owners themselves) by the number of employees, and report the seasonally-adjusted trend.

What is the Intuit Small Business Employment Index?

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index provides a top-level view of change in national small business employment for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, including:

  • Small Business Employment Index represents the national monthly level of employment in small businesses.
  • Small Business Employment by Geography represents the monthly level of employment by U.S. Census Divisions and for individual states in which there are more than 1,000 small firms represented.
  • Small Business Employee Hours Worked represents the level in monthly hours worked per employee (utilization) in small businesses.
  • Small Business Employee Compensation represents the monthly levels of compensation per employee in small business.

What is the purpose of the Index?

To fill the gap in a lack of timely small business employment reporting, we created the Intuit Small Business Employment Index. It is designed to provide statistically sound insight into small business employment trends and behavior and show how these small businesses play a key role in the economy. Because the Index is created with online payroll data, it is available close to real time at the beginning of each month, faster than most other employment indexes.

How is your Index different than the numbers put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)?

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index is constructed from data coming entirely from small businesses. We report not just employment, but monthly hours worked and compensation. The BLS reports national employment monthly, but does not break out employment for small businesses in the monthly reports.

Additionally, the Intuit Small Business Employment Index is derived from an aggregation of electronic payroll data, whereas BLS depends on surveys that are filled out by hand and returned by mail or reported by phone.

Why do you have three measures that make up the Index?

We believe it's important to give a detailed perspective about the overall small business employment picture, and the combination of employment along with hours worked and compensation helps provide insight into specific labor trends and behaviors.

When will your Index be available?

The 2015 calendar is shown below. Each release will represent a full month of data, through the 24th of the previous month.

Month Release Date

Intuit Release

Tue, January 6, 2015
Tue, February 3, 2015
Tue, March 3, 2015
Tue, March 31, 2015
Tue, May 5, 2015
Tue, June 2, 2015
Tue, June 30, 2015
Tue, August 4, 2015
Wed, September 1, 2015
Tue, September 29, 2015
Tue, November 3, 2015
Tue, December 1, 2015
Tue, January 5, 2016

How many firms are represented in your Index and how does that compare to the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers?

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index is based on a set of approximately 265,000 employers; the BLS surveys 143,000 businesses and government agencies. A key difference between the two reports is that the Intuit Index is not a survey and is based on real-time electronic payroll data. On the other hand, BLS constructs a random sample, while Intuit's data are from Intuit customers.

How is information in the geographic areas reported?

By U.S. Census:
This data reflects the change in small business employment by U.S. Census Divisions, aggregated from Intuit Online Payroll customer data in the States in each Division.

By State:
This measure shows the change in small business employment for the states in which Intuit Online Payroll has more than 1,000 small business firms represented.

What's your methodology?

See the description of our methodology here .

How many customers does Intuit Payroll have and are all of these used in the Index?

Intuit is the No. 1 payroll provider with more than 1.2 million customers with both desktop and online payroll services. The Index is based on a sample size of approximately 265,000 employers who use Intuit Online Payroll. This is a subset and not the total number of Intuit Online Payroll users.

What steps has Intuit taken to ensure the privacy and security of its customers' account details used in the Index?

To learn more about Intuit's Privacy Policy, visit:

How is your Index different than the numbers ADP puts out each month?

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index is focused exclusively on small business employers defined as firms (independent businesses) with fewer than 20 employees. The ADP monthly report includes numerous large businesses, and breaks out small businesses as establishments (locations where people work) with fewer than 50 employees.

Does the Index reflect Intuit's base of Payroll customers or Intuit's business results for any period?

No. The percentage changes in employment reflect the conditions of the economy, and do not represent changes in Intuit's base of Payroll customers or Intuit's business results for any period.

Why do you revise the previous month's results?

As with the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there may be revisions to the Intuit Index numbers. These calculations include re-computing seasonal factors and the moving average process used to obtain the curve, which can change the values for previously reported months. Changes to the data also arise from revisions to the government employment data that are used as inputs to the Intuit Index.

What is Intuit Payroll?

Intuit is the No. 1 payroll provider with 1.2 million customers. It provides a range of fast, easy and accurate payroll solutions to meet a variety of small business needs. These include do-it-yourself payroll solutions such as Intuit Online Payroll as well as do-it-for-me solutions such as Intuit Full Service Payroll.

Use the dropdown menu below to search and sort through our archive.
Intuit Economist Dr. Susan Woodward

The Intuit Small Business Employment Index has been constructed from Intuit Online Payroll data by nationally recognized financial economist Susan Woodward.

Susan Woodward is the founder of Sand Hill Econometrics, which publishes the Sand Hill Index, an index of value for venture-capital-funded companies. She has licensed this index to Dow Jones, which began publishing it as the Dow Jones Index of Venture Capital in the fall of 2009. Sand Hill Econometrics also provides measurement of risk and performance for alternative assets to institutional investors.

Woodward has a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from UCLA. She taught finance for the first 10 years of her career. She then served 10 years (1985-1995) in the government in Washington D.C., including four years as chief economist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and four years as chief economist at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. She now lives in Menlo Park, California, and works on issues in both mortgage lending and securities.

Contact Us For questions and requests contact: