Small business job growth declined in May following three months of strong gains, according to a new report.
The Paychex IHS Small Business Index declined this month to 100.59, down 0.18 percent from April. A reading above 100 indicates growth.
"Given the steady results of the past several months, it appears small businesses were not able to maintain the same level of employment growth in May," Martin Mucci, president and CEO of Paychex, said in a statement.
For the year, small business employment growth remains positive. The index is up 0.22 percent in the first five months of 2016 versus the same period last year.
The East South Central region — Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama — led the gains in May. Among states, Washington chalked up its fifth-straight month as the top job creator. Seattle was the No. 1 metro area for May with a record index reading of nearly 105.
At the sector level, services excluding public administration put up the strongest reading, though every industry saw declines in small business job growth this month.
The Paychex IHS index measures same-store, year-over-year changes in worker count to determine trends in employment.
Paychex is an outsourcing solutions firm, and IHS provides information and analysis.