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Small Business Employment Declines, Reflecting the Ongoing Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Small Business Employment Declines, Reflecting the Ongoing Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 08, 2020



Rochester, N.Y. (May 8, 2020) – The latest Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch shows a decrease in small business employment as the COVID-19 pandemic caused instability for employers nationwide. The jobs index declined 3.65 percent last month to 94.63, a level consistent with rates seen during the financial crisis. Hourly earnings growth rose slightly to 2.78 percent ($0.75) year-over-year. However, one-month annualized weekly hours worked growth dropped sharply, by 8.92 percent in April, resulting in a decline in weekly earnings growth to 1.28 percent from a year ago. 

“April’s decline marks a low for the jobs index, with employment registering slightly below levels seen in July 2009, during the Great Recession,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

“This month’s results reflect some of the negative impact COVID-19 has had on small business employment across the U.S. Our jobs index reflects that many small businesses have suspended operations and reduced payroll costs through partial or complete shutdowns, but are trying to remain in business while navigating a number of federal support opportunities,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “Receiving loan approval and funds from the Paycheck Protection Program is a critical next step for many small businesses as they look forward to the gradual, safe reopening of the economy and their employees returning to work.”   

Paychex IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch: Small Business Employment Declines, Reflecting the Ongoing Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Broken down further, the April report shows:

  • One of the last large states to shut down, Florida, had the highest jobs index reading among states.
  • New York, the state considered the epicenter of COVID-19 in the U.S., saw its jobs index fall to 92.81 and now has the lowest-ranked state index.
  • Among metros, New York City had the largest decline in weekly hours worked (falling to -16.44 percent one-month annualized growth in April).
  • The jobs index for Leisure and Hospitality fell to a record low (90.29), surpassing its previous low of 94.25 seen during the financial crisis.
  • One-month annualized weekly hours worked growth in Leisure and Hospitality is down 53.43 percent.
  • Among industry sectors, Financial Activities saw the least disruption in the rate of small business job growth and now ranks first among all sectors.

The complete results for April, including interactive charts detailing all data at a national, regional, state, metro, and industry level, are available at www.paychex.com/employment-watch. Highlights are available below.

April 2020 Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch

 

National Jobs Index

  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national jobs index declined to a historic low (94.63), slightly below levels seen during the financial crisis.
  • The national jobs index fell 3.65 percent in April and 4.19 percent from a year ago.

National Wage Report

  • Hourly earnings growth improved slightly to 2.78 percent, though weekly earnings growth fell considerably in April (declining to 1.28 percent).
  • One-month annualized weekly earnings growth turned negative in April, the first negative result since Small Business Employment Watch wage tracking began in June 2010.
  • Weekly hours worked growth fell significantly in April, with one-month annualized growth down 8.92 percent. 

 

Regional Jobs Index

  • All regions declined more than three percent in April and have index levels below 96.
  • Among regions, the Northeast had the steepest decline, falling 4.18 percent and declining to a historic low of 94.09.
  • At 95.01, the Midwest is the only region above its recession low (93.56).

Note: Percentages displayed in the regional heat map reflect 12-month changes.

 

Regional Wage Report 

  • Weekly hours worked growth slowed double digits in April (one-month annualized growth) in all regions except the Midwest.
  • Weekly earnings growth fell to 0.18 percent in the Northeast in April as one-month annualized growth fell sharply to -11.96 percent. 

Note: Percentages displayed in the regional heat map reflect 12-month changes.

State Jobs Index

  • One of the last large states to shut down, Florida, had the highest jobs index reading among states.
  • New York, the state considered the epicenter of COVID-19 in the U.S., saw its jobs index fall to 92.81 and now has the lowest-ranked state index.
  • While the index for most states fell more than three percent in April, Illinois only saw a -1.93 percent decrease.

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest states based on U.S. population. The chart’s dark blue bars reflect the index level and the light blue diamonds reflect the 12-month change.

 

State Wage Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 pulled year-over-year weekly hours worked growth negative for all 20 states analyzed.
  • California remained the top state for hourly earnings growth in April, while Illinois and Georgia each improved to round out the top three. 

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest states based on U.S. population.

Metropolitan Jobs Index 

  • The index level for each U.S. metro analyzed fell below 97 in April.
  • At 96.60, Denver fell less than three percent in April and became the top performing metro.

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest metro areas based on U.S. population. The chart’s dark blue bars reflect the index level and the light blue diamonds reflect the 12-month change.

 

Metropolitan Wage Report

  • Among metros, New York City had the largest decline in weekly hours worked (falling to -16.44 percent one-month annualized growth in April).
  • Seven metros reported negative annual weekly earnings growth in April.

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest metro areas based on U.S. population.

Industry Jobs Index

  • The jobs index for Leisure and Hospitality fell to a record low (90.29), surpassing its previous low of 94.25 seen during the financial crisis.
  • Among industry sectors, Financial Activities saw the least disruption in the rate of small business job growth and now ranks first among all sectors.
  • Despite falling to 96.56, Construction remains well ahead of its recession low of 91.23.

Note: Analysis is provided for seven major industry sectors. Definitions of each industry sector can be found here. The Other Services (excluding Public Administration) industry category includes religious, civic, and social organizations, as well as personal services, including automotive and household repair, salons, drycleaners, and other businesses. The chart’s dark blue bars reflect the index level and the light blue diamonds reflect the 12-month change.

 

Industry Wage Report 

  • One-month annualized weekly hours worked growth in Leisure and Hospitality is down 53.43 percent.
  • Financial Activities moved into the top spot among industry sectors for 12-month weekly earnings growth (2.33 percent).

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Note: Analysis is provided for seven major industry sectors. Definitions of each industry sector can be found here. The Other Services (excluding Public Administration) industry category includes religious, civic, and social organizations, as well as personal services, including automotive and household repair, salons, drycleaners, and other businesses.

For more information about the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch, visit www.paychex.com/employment-watch and sign up to receive monthly Employment Watch alerts.

*Information regarding the professions included in the industry data can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

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. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, 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 more than 45 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves approximately 670,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2019 across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting www.paychex.com, and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About IHS Markit (www.ihsmarkit.com)
IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions 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 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth.

IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2020 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Media Contacts

Lisa Fleming
Paychex, Inc.
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lfleming@paychex.com
@PaychexNews

Kate Smith
IHS Markit
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katherine.smith@ihsmarkit.com

Tess Flynn
Mower
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tflynn@mower.com

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