Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Jobs Index remained near its historic peak in March, moderating 0.03% to 101.29, up 7.47% year-over-year; hourly earnings growth advanced for the tenth consecutive month, grew to 4.76% year-over-year

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ROCHESTER, New York , April 4, 2022 (press release) –

Hourly earnings growth continued to advance for the tenth consecutive month for workers of U.S. small businesses, according to the latest Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch. The report also showed that national small business job growth remained near its recent record high, moderating 0.03 percent in March. The national jobs index stands at 101.29, increasing 7.47 percent over the past year. Hourly earnings growth grew to 4.76 percent year-over-year.

“Small business job growth continues to be historically strong,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

“Many employees continue to benefit from solid hourly earnings growth. In fact, year-over-year hourly earnings growth has improved more than two percent since May 2021,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex CEO. “This is good news for Americans feeling the pressure of inflation and higher prices at the gas pump.”

In further detail, the March report showed:
At 101.29, the national index remains near its historic peak set in January 2022.
The West remains the top region for small business job growth, North Carolina the highest-ranking state, and Dallas the top metro.
Nationally, hourly earnings growth improved to 4.76 percent, its tenth consecutive increase.
Annual weekly earnings growth grew to above four percent.
The West and South lead regions with hourly earnings growth above five percent.
Ohio and North Carolina have the highest rates of hourly earnings growth, both above six percent.
Leisure and hospitality leads the industry sectors in both small business jobs growth and hourly earnings growth.
Paychex solutions reach 1 in 12 American private-sector employees, making the Small Business Employment Watch an industry benchmark. Drawing from the payroll data of approximately 350,000 Paychex clients with fewer than 50 employees, the monthly report offers analysis of national employment and wage trends, as well as examines regional, state, metro, and industry sector activity.

The complete results for March, including interactive charts detailing all data, are available at Highlights are available below.

March 2022 Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch

National Jobs Index

  • Though the national index dipped slightly, at 101.29, it remains near its record pace set in January.
  • After eight consecutive gains from June 2021 through January 2022, the national index held steady in February and moderated slightly in March (-0.03 percent).


National Wage Report

  • Annual weekly earnings growth (4.08 percent) climbed back above four percent due to very strong gains in March as one-month annualized growth spiked to 6.83 percent.
  • Hourly earnings growth improved slightly to 4.76 percent, its tenth consecutive increase. Year-over-year growth has improved more than two percent since May 2021 (2.74 percent).
  • One-month annualized growth in weekly hours worked jumped to 1.75 percent, the highest rate since the first wave of the pandemic.


Regional Jobs Index

  • The pace of small business employment growth in the West eased 0.17 percent to 101.60, but remains the fastest growing region.
  • At the bottom of the regional rankings, the Midwest (100.39) was the only region to improve in March (0.06 percent).
  • Up 8.53 percent from last year, the Northeast index (101.41) has improved the most among regions.

Regional Wage Report

  • The West (5.04 percent) and the South (5.01 percent) lead regions with hourly earnings growth exceeding five percent. The Northeast trails at 4.19 percent hourly earnings growth.
  • Weekly earnings growth is strongest in the South (4.31 percent), though one-month annualized growth indicates all regions were very strong in March (all above five percent).
  • One-month annualized weekly hours worked growth in the Northeast spiked to 3.42 percent, indicating a significant increase in hours worked from February to March.

State Jobs Index

  • At 103.10, North Carolina remains the best state for small business employment growth for the second straight month.
  • Georgia (102.97) jumped two spots to second place among states with the strongest one-month change among states (0.60 percent).
  • California and Virginia both slowed in March, their first decrease since February 2021.

State Wage Report

  • Ohio (6.44 percent) and North Carolina (6.13 percent) lead states with hourly earnings growth topping six percent in March.
  • At 5.10 percent, Florida leads states in weekly earnings growth. At 1.77 percent, Missouri has the weakest weekly earnings growth by more than a percent.
  • Five states have hourly earnings growth below four percent, with Pennsylvania (3.39 percent) lowest among states.

Metropolitan Jobs Index

  • The top metro for the seventh consecutive month, Dallas improved its pace of hiring 0.42 percent in March bringing its index to 105.12.
  • At 101.75, San Diego jumped six spots with the best one-month change (0.51 percent) among states in March. Other California metros San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Riverside all slowed in March.
  • Besides Phoenix (-0.55 percent), Florida metros Miami (-0.46 percent) and Tampa (-0.44 percent) had the weakest one-month changes among metros in March.

Metropolitan Wage Report

  • Eight metros topped five percent hourly earnings growth year-over-year, led by Denver at 5.81 percent.
  • Florida metros Miami (5.40 percent) and Tampa (5.02 percent) are the top two metros for weekly earnings growth.
  • All metros have weekly earnings growth above three percent, despite negative weekly hours worked growth for 16 of the 20 metros.

Industry Jobs Index

  • For the second consecutive month, leisure and hospitality (106.09) had the largest slowdown, 0.48 percent, though its small business employment growth rate remains well ahead of other sectors.
  • Up to 100.17 and third among sectors in March, education and health services has improved its pace of employment growth in eight of the past nine months.
  • Construction (98.73) continues to moderate slightly month-to-month. Its index has been in the 98 range each month since May 2021.
  • Manufacturing (100.06), which had been ranked third since August 2021, fell 0.33 percent and is now fourth among sectors.

Industry Wage Report

  • Leisure and hospitality leads sectors in hourly earnings growth at 9.71 percent, nearly four percent higher than the next closest sector, trade, transportation, and utilities (5.96 percent).
  • At 3.63 percent, education and health services is the only sector with hourly earnings growth below four percent.
  • All sectors had positive one-month annualized weekly hours worked growth in March. This trend was especially seen in sectors reflecting strong discretionary spending, leisure and hospitality (7.67 percent) and other services (2.23 percent).

Note: Analysis is provided for seven major industry sectors. Definitions of each industry sector can be found here. The other services (except public administration) industry category includes religious, civic, and social organizations, as well as personal services, including automotive and household repair, salons, drycleaners, and other businesses.

More Information
For more information about the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch, visit the website and sign up to receive monthly Employment Watch alerts.

*Information regarding the professions included in the industry data can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

About the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch
The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch is released each month by Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of payroll, human resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small-to medium-sized businesses, and IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics, and expertise. Focused exclusively on small business, the monthly report offers analysis of national employment and wage trends, as well as examines regional, state, metro, and industry sector activity. Drawing from the payroll data of approximately 350,000 Paychex clients, this powerful tool delivers real-time insights into the small business trends driving the U.S. economy.

Media Contacts
Lisa Fleming
Paychex, Inc.

Kate Smith
IHS Markit

Maggie Pryslak

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

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