Small business hiring rises for 2nd straight month

ANOTHER GROWTH SPURT: Small businesses sped up their pace of hiring in December, adding 20,000 new jobs, according to software maker Intuit, which analyzed data posted online by its small business customers. This was the second straight month that the number of new jobs increased. Intuit also revised upward its count of new jobs in November, to 15,000 from the previously reported 10,000.

WHAT IT MEANS: Small businesses seem more confident about adding to their payrolls after hiring at a slower rate from May through October. But they're still conservative. December's increase in new jobs amounted to only about 1 percent from November. Intuit compiled its report from data provided by about 210,000 customers.

THE LINEUP: Intuit is the first of four reports on December small business job growth expected this week. Payroll provider ADP, the advocacy group National Federation of Independent Business and the Labor Department will also release reports.

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