The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch shows a modest decline in both small business job and wage growth for November. The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.03 percent for the month, 0.10 for the quarter, and 0.52 percent for the year to 99.86. The national index has now been below 100 for five consecutive months. Monthly small business wage growth has slowed since reaching a high of nearly three percent in August. Hourly earnings in November stand at $26.09, a gain of 2.77 percent ($0.70) year-over year.

According to the report, Arizona leads states in wage growth, nearing five percent (4.99 percent) YOY. Southwest metros – including Phoenix, San Diego, and Riverside – also lead hourly earnings growth among national metros with rates well above four percent.

“Though the monthly declines this year have been small, they have been persistent,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit. “At 99.86, the Small Business Jobs Index indicates employment growth, though steady, is now at the slowest pace since 2011.”

“Although we have seen slight monthly declines in employment growth, the rate of job growth, while still positive, has generally leveled off over the last quarter,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “It is encouraging to see that hours worked in Florida are back on the rise after recent monthly slowdowns following the hurricanes.”

National Jobs Index

  • November marks the ninth consecutive decline and fifth consecutive month below 100 for the national index.
  • Down 0.10 percent for the quarter and 0.52 percent for the year, the recent decline in the national index has been slow and steady.

State Wage Report

  • Seven of the top 20 states have hourly earnings growth above three percent, with Arizona leading and nearing five percent.
  • Ranked last in October, hourly earnings growth in Ohio declined further in November to 1.32 percent.
  • Led by increases in Construction and Manufacturing, hours worked in Florida rebounded significantly in November following sizable declines in recent months due to Hurricane Irma.

Metropolitan Wage Report

  • Southwest metros – Phoenix, San Diego, and Riverside – led hourly earnings growth with rates well above four percent.
  • Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia trailed in hourly earnings growth, posting less than two percent annual gains.