Small Business Employment Growth Remains Moderate, Wage Growth Continues at a Solid Pace

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The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch shows a slight slowdown in small business job growth in September, while wages continue at a solid pace of growth. The Small Business Jobs Index stands at 99.93, down 0.03% from the previous month. The national index has remained relatively flat since June. At $26.03 in September, hourly earnings gained 2.96% ($0.75) from a year ago, equal to the pace set in August and slightly below July’s 2.99% growth rate.

“From June through September, the national jobs index has settled near 100, matching the moderate small business job growth levels established during the 2004 base year,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

“Despite minor monthly declines following a strong start to the year, small business employment continues to grow at a moderate rate, while wage growth shows sustained strength,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “What’s particularly noteworthy from September’s data is the sharp decline seen in hours worked in both Miami and Houston, likely a result of the recent hurricanes.”

National Jobs Index

The national index has essentially remained flat since June, though there have been seven successive declines.

After several years of strong small business job growth, the national index has moderated and remained consistent with the base year level set in 2004.  

National Wage Report

At $26.03, hourly earnings gained 2.96% ($0.75) from a year ago.

The pace of wage growth in September remains equal to the pace set in August and slightly below July’s 2.99% growth rate.

Weekly earnings continued to accelerate, however, up 3.18% over a year ago, as hours worked in September exceed year-ago levels for the 10th consecutive month.

Regional Jobs Index

At 99.56, the West is last among regions in small business job growth for the first time in five years and has the weakest one-month and 12-month growth rates as well.

Improving for the sixth month in 2017, the Midwest region is up 0.25% in September and 0.60 percent from last September, and is the only region with a positive 12-month growth rate.

Regional Wage Report 

Hourly earnings are up 3.62% year-over-year in the West, while no other region has reached the three-percent threshold.

Weekly hours worked are up year-over-year in all regions.

State Jobs Index

Despite significant September declines, Tennessee and Indiana still lead small business employment growth among states.

California dropped again in September to 98.99, and is now the lowest-ranked state.

State Wage Report

One-month annualized growth rates for weekly hours worked are down significantly in Florida and Texas, possibly a result of the recent hurricanes.

Among the wage growth leaders, California saw accelerating gains in September.

Illinois, Ohio, and Maryland were the weakest states for hourly earnings growth, all with year-over-year gains below two percent.

Metropolitan Jobs Index 

Dallas fell from first place in small business job growth to sixth, while Minneapolis jumped seven spots to take the lead among metros at 101.37.

San Francisco and Los Angeles are now the weakest metros, both at seven-year index level lows.

Metropolitan Wage Report

Weekly hours worked in Houston and Miami both took a sizable downturn in September, potentially a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Riverside, Phoenix, and San Diego remain in the lead among metros for wage growth, though all three slowed in September.

Philadelphia and Chicago continue to lag with hourly earnings growth below 2 %, though Philadelphia improved in September, while Chicago slowed further.

Industry Jobs Index

Though still ranked last, Manufacturing is the only industry to improve the pace of small business job growth year-over-year, 0.32%.

Other Services (except Public Administration) leads small business growth, however, its lead is shrinking, as the industry again has the weakest 12-month growth rate.

Industry Wage Report 

Due to a decrease in hours worked, Leisure and Hospitality weekly earnings gains slowed in September, but remain strong at 4.57%.

Up 3.16% from last September, Construction is in the middle of the pack among industries for hourly earnings growth.

About the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch

The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch is released each month by Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of payroll, human resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small-to medium-sized businesses, and IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics, and expertise. Focused exclusively on small business, the monthly report offers analysis of national employment and wage trends, as well as examines regional, state, metro, and industry sector activity. Drawing from the payroll data of approximately 350,000 Paychex clients, this powerful tool delivers real-time insights into the small business trends driving the U.S. economy.

About Paychex

Paychex, Inc. is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by 45 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves approximately 605,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2017 across more than 100 locations and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees.

About IHS Markit

IHS Markit is a world leader in critical information, analytics and expertise for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 key business and government customers, including 85 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth.


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