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Small-business hiring falls to lowest level in over 7 years

  • The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.12 percent in March and 1.07 percent from a year earlier, according to a report from Paychex.
  • Small-business wages continue to rise.

Small-business hiring in March fell to the lowest point in over seven years, while hourly earnings grew steadily, a report from human resources firm Paychex said Tuesday.

The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.12 percent from last month and 1.07 percent from a year earlier. Small-business wages continued to rise, reaching a 2.66 percent (69 cents per hour) annual growth rate in March, Paychex said.

(Source: Paychex)

"Small business job growth slowed slightly yet again, to its lowest point in more than seven years," James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit, said in a statement accompanying the report. "This could be the beginning of accelerating wage growth to attract more employees."

Paychex said national hourly earnings in March were $26.48.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that nonfarm payrolls grew more than expected, but the closely watched wage number continues to steadily decline this year.

(Source: Paychex)

Tennessee returned to its previous spot as the top-ranked state for small-business job growth, the Paychex report said, while Arizona ranks first in annual hourly earnings growth. Denver passed Seattle as the country's top metro area for small-business jobs, Paychex said.

The Paychex report comes three days before the BLS releases its closely watched employment data for March.