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SMB Job Growth Slows, Says Paychex

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Employment levels are rising, but that doesn’t mean the economy can breathe a sigh of relief.

The latest Paychex | IHS Small Business Jobs Index released this week finds that, while job growth continued in October, the rate of that growth slowed. The index recorded a 0.11 percent decline in small business employment growth for October, marking the second month in a row for this trend.

The national index dropped 0.4 percent in the second half of 2016, Paychex found, which aligns with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ own finding of a slowdown in total job growth in the year’s third quarter. However, as identified in the PYMNTS Store Front Index, employment levels continue to rise.

Still, Paychex noted, its index remained 0.06 percent higher in October than it was the same time last year.

“What we’re seeing is a moderation this month,” summarized Paychex President and CEO Martin Mucci in a statement. “It’s still positive job growth over our index and certainly over the base year, but it has flattened out a bit from June. I think there is some cautious concern about the election.”

Another trend Paychex uncovered is the shift in favor of part-time employment, which accounts for more than a tenth of total hiring at the moment, researchers found. According to Mucci, it’s a 4 percent increase from this time last year.

“That’s giving people a little more flexibility on benefits and other expenses and whether they need employees full-time or not if demand changes for their products and services,” the executive continued.

The category of small business with the strongest rate of job growth was the “Other Services” area, containing businesses like pet care, according to reports. While it’s typical for this category to come out on top, Paychex added that it, too, has seen a slowdown in jobs growth. Construction SME job growth, meanwhile, slowed for the fourth consecutive quarter in October, while the leisure and hospitality industry accelerated its job growth last month.

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