SME Wages Up, But Employment Keeps Dropping


For the third month in a row, employment at small- and medium-sized enterprises in the U.S. continued to decline, according to new research from Paychex.

In the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch report, released Tuesday (May 30), said small business job growth declined in May. The report is now at its lowest reading since October 2015, researchers noted.

“The increased pace of small business employment growth that we saw following the election of President Trump has slowed,” explained Paychex President and CEO Martin Mucci in a statement. “Small business owners now seem to be taking a more wait-and-see approach to hiring.”

The pace of small business job growth is now 0.25 percent slower than it was in May of 2016, Paychex added.

When broken down by geographic region, the South stood as the strongest area for small business job growth, leading the way with the best 12-month growth rate of any other region, despite that rate being down “slightly” year over year.

Examining the trend by industry, Paychex found that the construction sector saw the weakest 12-month SME job growth rate of other sectors; “other services” and leisure and hospitality saw the strongest.

But the news isn’t all bad: wages grew for the fourth consecutive month, with hourly earnings 2.87 percent higher than they were a year ago. According to the data, nearly a dozen states saw annual wage growth above 3 percent.