Small businesses in North Carolina grew their payrolls by 0.5 percent, good for a second-place tie behind Massachusetts, according to a monthly survey from software firm Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU).

North Carolina shared second with Virginia and exceeded the national average.

However, the number of new jobs created by small businesses fell short of September’s increase.

The survey is compiled from some 59,000 small business employers who utilize Intuit Online Payroll. The firms have fewer than 20 employees.

Nationally, those small businesses added 44,000 jobs, or 0.2 percent, and also utilized workers more hours while increasing compensation, Intuit reported.

“October’s employment numbers look better than they did last month – employment and compensation show a healthy rise, and hours worked are up sharply,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create Intuit’s index, in a statement. “The annual growth rate for employment will not drive us back to full employment soon, but it is very encouraging. A double-dip recession is looking less and less likely.”

In September, Intuit calculated that 52,000 jobs were created.

Hours worked and compensation did increase from September, Intuit noted. Average pay grew to $2,617 per month, up 0.3 percent. Hours worked climbed to 107.1 hours per month, an increase of 0.7 percent.

“The increases in compensation and hours worked for October are impressive,” Woodward said. “Compensation showed a solid year-over-year increase of about 3.7 percent per year. The extraordinary increase in hours worked may foretell an even stronger rise in employment next month. If small businesses are asking this much more of their people, they probably need more people.”

Employment grew 0.3 percent in the South Atlantic region and 0.4 percent in East South Central. The regions are determined by U.S. Census data.

In May, Intuit bought Cary-based medical records technology firm Medfusion in an all-cash deal valued at $91 million. In July, Intuit renamed Medfusion as Intuit Health.

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