Small Business Employment Index Shows Some Traction

The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends for more than 3,500 companies with 300 or fewer employees, increased by 0.39 percent during December, following an increase of 0.82 percent in November.

ADP’s December jobs survey revealed that the private sector added 215,000 jobs, convincingly exceeding analysts’ estimates of 140,000 jobs and surpassing November’s revised tally of 148,000 added jobs.

“As expected, and consistent with readings from the entire fourth quarter, our Index shows a minimal .39% gain. A reading this low, while not negative, does show that small businesses surveyed are still holding back on hiring, most likely awaiting the results from Washington on tax rate changes as well as spending cuts,” says Philip Noftsinger, business unit president for CBIZ Payroll Services.

To view and/or use a graphic illustration that tracks and illustrates the employment index, visit our blog here.¹

Additional take-away points from the November data set include:
  • At-a-glance: Of the companies surveyed, 24 percent increased staffing while 23 percent of the companies decreased employee headcounts. Fifty-three percent of the companies surveyed maintained their number of employees.
  • Small business sector: The budget and tax battles in Washington, D.C. continue to give pause to entrepreneurs and shrink their appetite for risk, thereby continuing to mute the hiring by small businesses.
  • What to watch: Even as the House of Representatives reached a bi-partisan agreement on tax rates, the battle will continue on spending cuts as we approach another vote on the debt ceiling.

“Unfortunately, the situation in Washington seems to be a ‘wet blanket’ on what overall have been some encouraging macro numbers lately, such as housing and consumer spending,” says Noftsinger.

CBIZ Payroll Services manages payroll services for more than 3,500 businesses. Its index reflects a broad array of industries and geographies corresponding to the markets across the United States where CBIZ provides human capital services. The data represented by the SBEI is derived from a segment of employers not completely accounted for by the ADP and Federal BLS employment reports.

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