CBIZ Small Business Employment Index Suffers During September

The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends that surveys data from 3,500 companies with 300 or fewer employees, decreased by 2.15 percent during September following an increase of 1.23 percent in August.

Comparatively, Wednesday’s ADP’s September survey revealed that the private sector added 166,000 jobs during the month, missing economists’ expectations of 180,000. This total is up compared to the August revised tally of 159,000 jobs created, after 176,000 jobs were reported initially.

“The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index calculated a 2.15 percent drop in employment levels for the September period, which is consistent with historical September reports over the past four years,” says Philip Noftsinger, business unit president for CBIZ Payroll Services. “Typically during this period, students are returning to school and deflating the overall employee counts in the businesses and industries that employ them.”

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 September data set include:
  • At-a-glance: Of the companies surveyed, 20 percent increased staffing while 31 percent decreased staffing and 49 percent maintained their number of employees.
  • Small business sector: This September’s report is fairly consistent with other past and present data sets and should be taken as an example of a steady labor market, albeit one that continues to remain at overall high levels of under-employment and unemployment. Continued fiscal policy chaos is contributing to pessimism among small business owners, who may otherwise invest in potential sales growth.
  • What to watch: Several larger companies have announced growth in holiday hiring as we enter the fourth quarter. Should this trend continue, momentum could gain steam in 2014.

“Larger employers have shown optimism about the fourth quarter retail picture, which is encouraging. It may represent a path that smaller employers may choose to follow as we enter the November and December months,” says Noftsinger.

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