The 3.4 million storefront businesses that form the lifeblood of the U.S. economy are on a run and are seemingly gaining momentum.
According to the latest findings of the PYMNTS Store Front Index, small businesses across the U.S. are continuing to build on their gains from 2016. The Index, which saw a decline in Q1 2016 when it fell from 115 points to 114.6 points, has since been picking up steam. It rose to 117.6 in Q4 2016 and is now projected to hit 117.9 in Q1 2017.
Much of this growth is attributed to an increase in the number of establishments, employment levels and wages.
In Q3 2016, the number of establishments increased by 2.1 percent, slightly down from the 2.2 percent noted during the previous quarter, according to recent data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The highest growth came from the South, where the number of establishments increased by 3.2 percent. The Index predicts that by Q1 2017 establishment growth will remain stable at 2.1 percent, with the Mountain region leading the way with a 3.6 percent growth, followed by the Southwest and the South.
Meanwhile, overall employment levels across the U.S. declined to 2.1 percent, down from 3.3 percent observed during the previous quarter. Geographically, the Mountain region saw the highest improvement with a 3.7 percent increase in employment. And among the various sectors analyzed by the SBA, fitness-related businesses lead the pack with a 6.3 percent growth in employment. Overall, the employment rate is projected to grow by 2.5 percent by Q1 2017.
Wages, on the other hand, saw significant growth. In Q3 2016, wages went up by 6.1 percent, up from the 3.2 percentage increase noted in the previous quarter, thanks in part to eating and drinking establishments that contributed to an 8.7 percent growth. The Index predicts that in Q1 2017, the growth in wages will again slow down to 3.9 percent.
While much of 2017 is yet to unfold, going by the Index estimates, growth will continue. In other words: at least in the case of small businesses, America will continue to do just fine.