Small Business Job Growth Slows to End 2018; Hourly Earnings Growth Increases
The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch shows a 0.13 percent decrease in small business job growth and an increase in hourly earnings growth for the month of December
The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch closed the year with a decline in small business job growth and continued, moderate growth in hourly earnings. The Small Business Jobs Index stands at 98.88 in December, down 0.13 percent for the month and 0.82 percent for the year. At $26.95, hourly earnings in December gained 2.42 percent ($0.64) year-over-year and averaged a growth rate of 2.49 percent for 2018.
“At 98.88, the Small Business Jobs Index continued its decline through the end of 2018, confirming that it’s a difficult hiring environment for the country’s small businesses,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.
“With the positives of a strong economic environment and the prospects for growth under tax reform, small employers were challenged throughout 2018 with job growth due to the difficulty of recruiting employees given the historically low rates of unemployment,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO.
Broken down further by geography and industry, the December report showed:
- The top regions for employment growth and wage growth, respectively, are the South and West.
- Wisconsin and Arizona are the strongest states for small business job growth; Arizona is the top state for wage growth.
- Dallas remains first among metros in job growth; Riverside, California is once again the top metro for wage growth.
- Hourly earnings growth in Leisure and Hospitality increased 4.02 percent in 2018, best among all industry sectors.
The complete results for December, 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.
December 2018 Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch
National Jobs Index
- The national index has slowed steadily for two years, and the pace of decline accelerated in 2018.
- At 98.88, the national index is down 0.13 percent from November, its seventh consecutive decrease.
National Wage Report
- At 2.42 percent in December, hourly earnings growth has slowly improved each month since August.
- However, at 2.22 percent, weekly earnings growth has declined, with a reduction in weekly hours worked.
Regional Jobs Index
- The Northeast fell 1.42 percent in 2018 to 98.11, its lowest index level since early 2010.
- The West held its pace of employment growth throughout 2018 as it improved from last to second among all regions, just behind the top-ranked South.
Note: Percentages displayed in the regional heat map reflect 12-month changes.
Regional Wage Report
- The Northeast was the only region to not show a year-over-year improvement in its hourly earnings growth rate, declining to 2.14 percent.
- Weekly hours worked growth has decreased sharply during 2018 in the West.
Note: Percentages displayed in the regional heat map reflect 12-month changes.
State Jobs Index
- Two states with an index above 100 remain, Wisconsin and Arizona.
- Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey each have indexes below 98.
- California has slowly seen employment growth improve during 2018; the state did not have two consecutive declines all year.
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
- Wage trends are mixed across states, with notable decelerations in Arizona, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, and Virginia.
- Though decelerating, Arizona still leads states in wage growth, trailed by California and Tennessee.
Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest states based on U.S. population.
Metropolitan Jobs Index
- Dallas and Denver lead all metros in small business employment growth, both well above 100.
- With an index level above 100 at the end of 2017, the pace of employment growth in Boston has slowed 3.25 percent during 2018, down to 97.04.
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
- Western metros continue to lead wage gains, with Riverside, Phoenix, Denver, and Los Angeles taking the top four spots among metro areas.
- Houston, Atlanta, and Boston are the three weakest metros for hourly earnings growth, all with prolonged declines.
Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest metro areas based on U.S. population.
Industry Jobs Index
- Construction slipped below 100 for the first time since 2011, but remains one of the strongest and most steady sectors for small business employment growth.
- Up 0.20 percent to 98.63, Leisure and Hospitality had the best gain in December among industry sectors.
Note: Analysis is provided for seven major industry sectors. The chart’s dark blue bars reflect the index level and the light blue diamonds reflect the 12-month change.
Industry Wage Report
- At $17.01 per hour, Leisure and Hospitality increased hourly earnings $0.66 in 2018, or 4.02 percent, which is best among industries.
- Though job growth stalled in Manufacturing during 2018, weekly earnings growth continues to accelerate, up 3.51 percent in December and fastest among industry sectors.
Note: Analysis is provided for seven major industry sectors.
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.
Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, 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 over 650,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2018, 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.
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