NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Paychex/IHS Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.17 percent in May, bringing the national index to 100.65, its lowest level in 2015. On a year-over-year basis, the national index declined 0.49%.
Paychex CEO Martin Mucci said in a phone interview, "We believe that this is not the start of a trend but indicative of what we have seen with economic data as it has been inconsistent but still showing overall moderate growth. While the index showed a decline, the trend still signals moderate growth as the reading is over 100."
A monthly measure of change in small business employment in the U.S., the Paychex/IHS Small Business Jobs Index tracks worker counts. An upward trend represents a strengthening job market, while a downward trend is a sign of a slowdown.
Many regions registered a decline last month. The West-North Central area exhibited the lowest growth rate for the second consecutive month. The East-North Central region now has the top-ranked position of all the regional indices.
On the state level, Indiana was the one with the highest ranking, demonstrating the best one-month and 12-month growing rates. After having solid total employment growth in April and May as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana's ranking climbed to 103.65. Illinois also logged growth, of 0.34%, in May compared April. With a 102.31 ranking, Michigan saw improvement as its economy transitions to being more technology-based and has call centers, Mucci explained.
Texas has continued to struggle for the third consecutive month with more job cuts in Houston. Yet the employment picture improved in Dallas 1.23% for the month compared to the same period a year ago, with its index rising to 104.18, due to its not being as dependent on energy. Detroit is looking good, scoring a 102.89 ranking, representing a 0.44% gain compared to May 2014.
In an analysis of metro areas, Washington improved the most, by 0.64% for the month compared with April. And New York City has seen its first consecutive increase since February 2014; this represents an improvement from a recent four-year low in March 2015. Meanwhile, Boston remains at the bottom and its ranking fell again in May, to 98.61.