The Intuit Small Business Employment Index for August showed a slowing rate of small business job growth. The good news is the index was positive, with small businesses posting a gain of 26,000 jobs in August.
Also good news is wages and hours worked remained steady versus the prior month. Both are indicators of slowly improving business conditions.
But as the chart below from Fidelity Investments shows, the economy needs to generate roughly 8 million jobs to recover to pre-recession levels. It's going to be a long road back unless small business employment picks up.
Unfortunately, according to the Discover Small Business Watch Confidence Index small business owners aren't optimistic about the near-term economy. Key quote from their August index release:
In August, 62 percent of small business owners said the economy is getting worse and a record 55 percent of small business owners expect economic conditions for their businesses to be unfavorable in the next six months, up 10 percentage points from July. Those indicators led the drop in confidence from 83 on the index in July to 73 in August.
This indicates small business employment growth will likely remain anemic for at least the next few months.