The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch shows a slight slowdown in small business job growth, with wage growth also showing a small decline over the past month. The Small Business Jobs Index stands at 99.89, moderating 0.04 percent from the previous month. After reaching a milestone three percent growth rate in August, hourly earnings growth has slowed slightly in the past two months. Hourly earnings in October were $26.07, a gain of 2.91 percent ($0.74) year-over year.

The report shows that Arizona remains in first place for wage growth among states with a rate of 4.77 percent, and Phoenix stands in second place among metros with an earnings growth rate of 4.48 percent.

“With a national index level of 99.89, small business job growth continues to moderate, slowing for the eighth consecutive month,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

“While generally stable, the national jobs index dropped slightly in October, undoubtedly impacted to some degree by those communities recently disrupted by natural disasters,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “In line with last month’s results, we continued to see a slowdown in hours worked in those places recovering from hurricanes in August and September, specifically Houston, Miami, and Tampa.”

National Jobs Index

• The national index is just 0.11 below 100, yet this represents the lowest level since September 2011.

• Though it’s declined over the past three months, the jobs index has moved just 0.09 percent since July, representing the most stable quarter in the history of the jobs index.  

National Wage Report

• Hourly earnings gained 2.91 percent year-over-year, slowing slightly from recent months. Both well below the annual growth rate, one-month and three-month annualized growth rates were 2.32 percent and 2.59 percent, respectively.

• At $847.61 in October, weekly earnings growth was up 3.13 percent from a year ago. While 3.13 percent is an improvement from the growth rate posted last October (2.73 percent), the acceleration has slowed in recent months.