Small business growth slowed for a third-straight month in October, marking the first three-month decline since early 2013, outsourcing solutions firm Paychex and IHS reported Tuesday.
The Paychex IHS Small Business Index contracted last month to a reading of 100.34, down from 100.44 in September. A reading above 100 indicates growth.
"What we've seen here is a little bit of a decrease each month," Marty Mucci, Paychex president and CEO, told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "The growth rate has changed. It's down about a half a percent from last year at this time, so while it's still positive, it certainly is leveling off a bit"
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The Mountain region was the top-performing area in October, while Washington state leapfrogged Texas to become the No. 1 ranked state in the index. Dallas, however, retained the title of top metro area.
Services excluding public administration, a category that includes a wide range of jobs including repair and laundry services, hit a record reading of 104.21 in October and outpaced other sectors by a wide margin.
The Paychex IHS Small Business Index measures same-store, year-over-year changes in worker count to determine trends in small business employment.