America's job engine sputters

Small businesses should be the job engine regardless of the overall economy, but right now they're failing to create enough jobs to lead us out of this recession.

Photo illustration / Jon Hope / File
Whether driving across the Sahara to raise money for charity or driving the American economy, a sputtering engine promises challenges ahead. In this photo from January 1, 2004, fellow drivers help free the photographer's car from the Mauritanian sand during a 2,500 mile fund-raising race across western Africa.

Entrepreneurs are the job engine in our economy during good times and bad. They are the primary creators of new jobs leading our growth during booms, and they lead job creation coming out of recessions.

The latest job creation figures from the Intuit Small Business Index suggest that while job growth is somewhat better than last year this time, job creation among small businesses is not at the levels we need to spur a recovery.

This index showed modest job creation in August, with at estimated 39,000 new jobs created. However, September data showed only 27,000 new jobs created.

Additionally, there was no increase in hours worked or compensation. If these figures had improved we could hold out hope that small businesses were growing through increased productivity. But, this is not the case.

These figures mirror the drop in intention to hire new employees found in other surveys of small business owners over the past few weeks.

There is no sign that small businesses are ready to lead a recovery any time in the foreseeable future.

All of this is evidence that supports the growing consensus that we are in for a prolonged period of high unemployment.

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