The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), which tracks hiring trends among thousands of companies that employ 300 or fewer employees across the U.S., reported a month-over-month decrease in hiring of 2.45 percent in September, following an increase in hiring of 2.29 percent in August.
Forty-eight percent of companies in the SBEI did not make a change to their staff totals, while 20 percent of companies increased employee counts and 32 percent decreased headcounts. The September period has averaged a hiring decrease of 1.31 percent since the index's inception in 2009. Additionally, Arts and Entertainment, Real Estate, Non-Profits, and Financial Services posted decreases in hiring during September. Educational Services showed a 3.37 percent increase. Regionally, the Northeast, Central, and Southeast regions saw employment decreases of 4.09 percent, 2.61 percent, and 2.33 percent, respectively. The Central region posted a relatively flat reading of 0.1 percent growth.
The September reading of the SBEI followed historical trends for this period. The reading could be pointing to an ever-tightening labor market, which at some level will continue to push wages higher. However, it's important to keep in mind that recent developments concerning trade deals for North America are likely to keep economic growth going for the foreseeable future. The need for labor will continue to grow and the U.S. will need to find a way to increase its legal employable workforce.