Small business hiring slows in August, wages dip


by Lucia Mutikani


(Reuters) – Hiring by small businesses slowed in August and employers reduced hours, an independent survey showed on Sunday, suggesting the recent stock market turmoil may have dampened job creation.

Intuit, a payrolls processing company, said small businesses added 35,000 jobs after increasing employment by 40,000 in July.

The survey is based on responses from about 66,000 employers at businesses with fewer than 20 employees that use the Intuit Online Payroll system and covered the period from July 24 to August 23.

“There was plenty of bad news this month and the Intuit small businessemployment figures show this,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who helped to develop the survey. “From this month’s numbers, we don’t see a new recession, but we don’t see a robust recovery either.”

A sharp drop in share prices after Standard & Poor’s stripping the nation of its top AAA credit rating knocked down consumer and business confidence. Sentiment also soured as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe spread.

There are fears the month’s stock market rout could make businesses hesitant to hire new workers.

The government will release its employment report for August on Friday, which will be gleaned for clues on whether the economy is sliding back into recession.

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