P​hoenix topped the nation with a 5.67 percent hourly wage growth, based on one-month annualized wage growth data, in small businesses compared to a year ago, according to the monthly Small Business Employment Watch from Paychex IHS Markit.

The average metro area small business is currently paying wages of $28.26 per hour. The U.S. average is $29.09, increasing only 2.84 percent.  Arizona ranked third in wage growth, with a 4 percent increase over last year to $27.11. Missouri’s 4.84 percent growth was tops in the nation, and Georgia was second with 4.4 percent. Wages rose more in the Northeast, up 3.7 percent, followed by 2.94 percent in the West. The South lagged behind the other regions reporting a 2.09 percent wage gain for small business workers.

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Arizona and Phoenix, third among states and cities respectively, both placed third in the nation for small business job growth according to Paychex.  For Arizona, April 2021 saw small business job growth of 4.9 percent over April 2020.  Greater Phoenix clocked similar growth with a 4.6 percent increase during that time.

Nationally, job gains in April marked the first month in the last 12 in which all regions of the country showed positive growth rates. The West led the regional list with 4.26 percent in job gains. The Midwest was the lowest with a 3.31 percent job gain. According to Paychex, the national average for job gains is 3.92 percent.

Phoenix’s performance has been relatively strong across the last year. After April and May 2020, when jobs plummeted because of the pandemic lockdown, Phoenix was among the top five metro areas for job performance. Over the past year, Greater Phoenix saw fewer jobs lost than most metro areas. In months with job increases, Phoenix was among the leaders.

The monthly Small Business Employment Watch from Paychex IHS Markit calculates job and wage gains based on the data generated by businesses using Paychex for payroll and human resource services. Over the past year, Phoenix has shown substantial numbers in both jobs and wage gains, holding a steady ranking among the top tier of metro areas measured by Paychex.