Get Started: Small biz jobs; social networking

NEW YORK (AP) — _____

CONFLICTING SURVEYS ON JOBS

A survey released last week by business software maker Intuit Inc. said that employment at small businesses dropped 0.05 percent in October. That's approximately 10,000 fewer jobs than in September.

Intuit also said. revenue at small businesses fell 0.3 percent in September. The biggest decline was in the construction, with a 0.8 percent drop. That was followed by the retail, professional services, lodging and restaurant industries, with each experiencing a revenue decline of 0.5 percent. The smallest drop was in real estate and health care, with revenue declining 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Intuit compiled its employment numbers from data from approximately 170,000 small business employers. The revenue numbers were compiled from data from more than 100,000 small companies.

Other measures of employment released last week were somewhat stronger. Payroll service ADP said Nov. 1 that small businesses added 50,000 workers in October, and medium-sized businesses added 27,000. On the same day, the National Federation of Independent Business said a survey of its members showed that employment at small companies crept up an average 0.02 workers during the month.

The federal government said Friday that U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October, and hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought. The government reported that the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September, mainly because more people began looking for work.

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MORE SOCIAL NETWORKING

Small companies are spending more time using social media to support their businesses, according to a new survey.

Sixty-six percent said they spent more time on social media than they did a year ago, according to the survey of 462 small businesses by Vertical Response, a seller of products that businesses use for marketing. Forty-three percent of respondents said they spend six or more hours per week on social media activities for their business, 25 percent said they spend six to 10 hours per week, and 18 percent spend 11 or more hours per week.

Facebook is still the most popular social network among small companies, with 90 percent of small businesses surveyed active on the site. Nearly 70 percent are on Twitter, while half are on LinkedIn. By comparison, only 32 percent are on Google Plus and 29 percent are on Pinterest.

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VENTURE CAPITALISTS UPBEAT, WITH CAVEATS

Recently released research into the attitudes of San Francisco-area venture capitalists indicates that they are more upbeat than in the second quarter, but are less optimistic than they have been, on average, over about the last nine years.

The quarterly Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index is based on an ongoing survey of San Francisco Bay Area venture capitalists. It measures and reports the opinions of professional venture capitalists regarding the entrepreneurial environment in the San Francisco Bay area in the next six to 18 months. The research, conducted by Mark Cannice, department chair and professor of entrepreneurship and innovation of the University of San Francisco School of Management, is based on feedback from about 30 venture capitalists and is not considered a scientific poll.

In September, the index reached 3.53 on a 5-point scale, up from 3.47 in the second quarter, but is below its nearly nine-year average.

Current issues in the venture market include the "high" prices of venture-backed companies that have had disappointing runs in the public market such as social network Facebook Inc., game company Zynga Inc. and online deals site Groupon Inc., according to the report. Other concerns include limited funding for ventures in the life sciences industry and political and broader economic uncertainty, according to the research. Still, venture capitalists involved in the research remain confident that the Bay area will continue to be a dominant source of innovation and entrepreneurship.

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