A surprising percentage of small businesses with less than 100 employees are partnering with professional employer organizations (PEOs) to provide their human resources and benefits needs. 

So says a new study from the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, which found that between 14 percent and 16 percent of those small businesses are reaching out to PEOs that provide payroll, benefits, regulatory compliance assistance and other HR services, rather than dealing with HR and benefits issues themselves. 

The study, the fourth in a series on PEOs, also said that businesses in PEO arrangements grow faster, have lower employee turnover and have a significantly higher rate of business survival than businesses that don't use PEOs. It cited last year's report figures indicating that PEOs generated between $136 and $156 billion in gross revenues, provided services to between 2.7 and 3.4 million workers, and offered HR, benefits and compliance assistance to between 156,000 and 180,000 small- to mid-size businesses. 

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