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 2.06 percent in January, following a decrease in hiring of 0.49 percent in December.
Forty-nine percent of companies in the SBEI did not make a change to their staff totals, while 21 percent of companies increased employee counts and 30 percent decreased headcounts. The January period has averaged a hiring decrease of 2.84 percent since the index's inception in 2009. Additionally, Professional Services, Non-Profits, Real Estate, Healthcare and, expectedly, Retail Trade posted decreases in hiring during January. Meanwhile, Insurance and Transportation posted increases.
The January reading of the SBEI demonstrates a less severe drop than the historical January trend by showing a 2.0 percent change versus the average 2.8 percent decline. Seasonally, small business owners typically reduce headcounts from the holiday shopping season as temporary workers return to schools and universities. As demonstrated in this month’s SBEI, small business owners continue to benefit from a cooling but expanding economy. Federal Reserve policy and trade talks will dominate the conversation surrounding the sustainability of a growing economy, and we will continue to watch whether such macroeconomic forces impact domestic small business labor decisions