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 downturn in the February reading, with a seasonally adjusted decrease of 0.19%. While this an improvement from January the hiring decline aligns with seasonal trends.
In February, 21% of companies increased staffing, 59% made no change to their headcounts, and 20% reduced employment totals. Insurance and Mining experienced gains while Agriculture, Fishing and Hunting, and Wholesale Distribution declined.
From a regional perspective, the Southeast (0.74%) and West (0.56%) regions saw a hiring increase, while the Central (-0.67%) and Northeast (-0.35%) saw a decrease. With inflation continuing to be top concern for consumers, businesses are faced with balancing a healthy margin while keeping employees fulfilled, which may be a challenge for small businesses moving forward.
Anna Rathbun is Chief Investment Officer, CBIZ Inc.
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