The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), which tracks hiring trends among thousands of companies across the U.S. with 300 or fewer employees, saw a hiring decline in the October reading, with a seasonally adjusted decrease of 1.94%. As small business hiring experiences losses for the third straight month, the data points to the weaknesses emerging from the labor market.
In October, 17% of companies increased their headcounts, 57% reported no change to their employment totals, and 26% decreased their staffing. Management, Mining, Not-for-Profit, and Wholesale Distribution had gains in employment. Fishing & Hunting, Information Technology, Leisure and Hospitality, and Life Sciences experienced the most notable declines in hiring.
From a regional perspective, the West (1.85%) was the only region to experience an increase in hiring, extending a two-month trend. The Southeast (-2.61%) saw the biggest decline, followed by the Northeast (-2.56%) and Central (-2.22%) regions. This month's data suggests that small businesses are bracing for an economic recession. Small business hiring is being challenged by the negative headwinds impacting the economy.
Anna Rathbun is Chief Investment Officer, CBIZ Inc.
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