- At-a-glance: Of the companies surveyed, 21 percent increased staffing while 31 percent of the companies decreased employee headcounts and 48 percent of the companies surveyed maintained their number of employees.
- Small business sector: The fact that this month’s number is the smallest seasonal decline in the past two years is encouraging and hopefully a sign that the small business labor market is improving.
- What to watch: Despite the uncertainty surrounding the debt ceiling last month, the economy seemed quite resilient. It will be interesting to see if the hiring pace will continue to gradually pick up and sustain growth this winter and for the long-term.
The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends for more than 3,500 companies with 300 or fewer employees, decreased by 2.37 percent during January, following an increase of 0.39 percent in December. Despite the unemployment rate ticking up from 7.8 to 7.9 percent, ADP’s January jobs survey revealed that the private sector added 192,000 jobs, significantly surpassing analysts’ estimates of 165,000 jobs and beating December’s revised tally of 185,000 added jobs. “This month’s SBEI prints with a decline of 2.37 percent, which is the lowest seasonal reduction in workforce in the past two years of January reports,” 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 January data set include: