The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), which tracks hiring trends among thousands of companies across the U.S. with 300 or fewer employees, reported a sharp seasonally adjusted decrease of 1.29% in January for its initial reading of 2021. The deviation from December’s hiring growth speaks to the duration of the pandemic’s economic distress and its impact on small business employment.
Of the companies surveyed, 15.3% bolstered employment in January, 51.4% refrained from changing staffing levels and 33.3% decreased headcounts. Hiring declines were prevalent across industries, with the largest decreases seen in Accommodation and Food Services along with Arts and Entertainment, two focus areas for coronavirus-related restrictions. Declines also occurred in Agriculture, Government, Rental and Leasing Services, and Administrative and Support Services. The sole industry to increase hiring was Educational Services.
Geographically, all four regions in the survey reported decreased hiring. The most notable declines occurred in the Northeast and West, with the Central and Southeast regions showing less drastic dips.
Phil Noftsinger is Executive Vice President, CBIZ Inc.
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