Small Business Hiring and Worker Wages Hold

Paychex data also reveals the growth in three-month annualized weekly hours worked
has reached its highest level since March 2021

The rate of job growth and hourly earnings growth held relatively steady at U.S. small businesses in November, according to the latest Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch. The Small Business Jobs Index moderated slightly -0.05 percent from the previous month and stands at 99.38. At 5.04 percent, the pace of hourly earnings growth was unchanged over the previous month.

“While there was little to no change in hiring rates and hourly earnings growth in November, this month’s data reveals interesting trends in hours worked. One-month annualized weekly hours worked growth was positive for the third consecutive month, increasing 0.50 percent, possibly signaling that small businesses are adapting to the current labor market and are leveraging existing staff,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

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“As U.S. businesses approach the end of the year, they’re continuing to contend with inflation pressures and a challenging labor market,” said John Gibson, Paychex president and CEO. “They should remember government programs are available to help, including the Employee Retention Tax Credit, which could be a source of significant support.”

In further detail, the November report showed:

  • At 99.38, the national jobs index moderated -0.05 percent from last month (-0.05 percent is the smallest one-month decrease since March 2022).
  • Three-month annualized weekly hours worked growth reached its highest level since March 2021, increasing to 0.77 percent in November.
  • After eight consecutive increases, weekly earnings growth slowed slightly to 4.84 percent.
  • Leisure and hospitality ranks first among sectors in hourly earnings growth (6.38 percent) and last in weekly hours worked growth (-0.66 percent).
  • The South continues to lead U.S. regions in small business job growth and hourly earnings growth for workers.
  • North Carolina remained the top state for small business job growth; Missouri replaced Florida as the top state for worker hourly earnings growth.

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  • Houston overtook Dallas to lead U.S. metros in small business job growth; Dallas and Miami are the top metros for hourly earnings growth (6.69 percent).
  • Likely an impact from Hurricane Ian, weekly hours worked growth is down -0.79 percent in Florida and -0.98 percent in Tampa, the lowest level among U.S. states and metros, respectively.

Paychex solutions reach 1 in 12 American private-sector employees, making the Small Business Employment Watch an industry benchmark. Drawing from the payroll data of approximately 350,000 Paychex clients with fewer than 50 employees, the monthly report offers analysis of national employment and wage trends, as well as examines regional, state, metro, and industry sector activity.

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