Small Business Hiring Experiences Flat Reading in November

The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index reported a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.15% in November after experiencing two consecutive months of declines in hiring. The CBIZ SBEI tracks payroll and hiring trends for more than 3,100 companies that have 300 or fewer employees. According to the index, 19% of companies increased staffing, 61% made no change to their headcounts and 20% reduced employment totals in November.

“Up to this point, month-over-month employment trends have tightened in range compared to the SBEI historical data,” Anna Rathbun, CFA, chief investment officer of CBIZ Investment Advisory Services, said. “Even if small businesses are not inclined to hire in large numbers considering the uncertain economic environment, they are also not willing to lay off workers easily.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment report indicated hiring growth that barely beat expectations in November, with the month’s reading showing an overall increase of 199,000 private-sector jobs. Given the overall hiring growth, the national unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.7%. The report is inclusive of all non-farm private employers across businesses of all sizes. Meanwhile, the ADP employment report indicated hiring growth among small, medium and large-sized companies. Its November reading showed an overall increase of 103,000 private-sector jobs for the month. Small businesses accounted for an increase of 6,000 of those jobs on a seasonally adjusted, month-over-month basis. The ADP report counts small businesses as companies with 49 or fewer employees, while the CBIZ SBEI uses data from companies with 300 employees or fewer.

From a regional perspective, the West (1.72%) was the only region to report an increase in small business hiring in November. The Central (0.05%) and Southeast (-0.07%) regions both showed a relatively flat reading, while the Northeast (-0.28%) experienced a decline.

On an industry level, gains in employment were occurred in management, transportation and utilities. Industry decreases were occurred in agriculture, fishing and hunting, information, and rental and leasing services.

“Out of the industries that shed jobs, information stands out,” Rathbun said. “As companies tighten their belts, spending on advertising as well as publishing, telecommunication and broadcasting can end up on the chopping block. Attrition in employment for these services may help to complete the picture of American enterprises becoming leaner through the end of the year.”

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