Though the Arizona Wildcats are out of the NCAA tournament, Phoenix is here for a comeback. After a slowdown to start 2024 (dropping 2.26 percentage points since December 2023), Phoenix small business job growth is back on the rise, gaining 0.65 percentage points to 100.97 in March, according to the Paychex Small Business Employment Watch.

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Overall, the West (3.68%) leads regional hourly earnings growth for the 10th consecutive month and Phoenix is among the Western metros leading the pack. Phoenix small business job growth follows Seattle, Denver, and Riverside, CA, ranking fourth among the top 20 metros with hourly earnings growth of 3.96% for March.

According to the Paychex Small Business Employment Watch, the Small Business Jobs Index grew 0.18 percentage points nationally in March to 100.85 – the first increase year-to-date – but remained below pre-pandemic levels for the first three months of 2024. Hourly earnings growth for workers at U.S. companies with fewer than 50 employees continued a steady deceleration that began in mid-2022, ending March at 3.27% growth year-over-year. 

“An increase in the jobs index coupled with a continued moderation of wage growth reflects a relatively stable macroeconomic environment,” said John Gibson, Paychex president and CEO. “A tight job market for qualified workers, reduced access to affordable growth capital, and inflationary pressures continue to be headwinds for small and mid-sized businesses. They continue to manage hours worked to control cost and deal with inflation.” 

“Our clients tell us they are still struggling to find qualified employees and we continue to be committed to providing them with the right HCM technology, tools, and advisory services that will help them attract and retain talent,” added Gibson. “We’ve also seen that offering affordable benefits like healthcare insurance and retirement plans can help business owners compete for talent.”

Jobs Index and Wage Data Highlights

  • With a national jobs index of 100.85 in March, the pace of small business job growth increased for the first time in 2024. The current national index is 1.01 percentage points below the mark set in March 2023 (101.86).
  • Weekly earnings growth 3.05% in March as weekly hours worked remained down slightly year-over-year. 
  • The Midwest overtook the South as the top-ranked region with four of the top five states for small business job growth being in the Midwest. Indiana led all states with a jobs index of 102.88. 
  • All regions and every industry except Manufacturing showed positive job growth in March.