News Release and Analysis

Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch:
April Small Business Employment Growth Moderates from March; Hourly Earnings Up 2.73 Percent from a Year Ago

  • The national index gave up its 2017 gains in April, and is now 0.27 percent below last year's employment growth level
  • Hourly earnings in April were $25.67, increasing 2.73 percent ($0.68 YOY)
  • The South leads in regional job growth; the West ranks highest for wage growth
  • Tennessee continues as the leader in job growth; Arizona leads in wage growth
  • Dallas remains the best metro for job growth; Riverside tops for wage growth
  • Leisure and Hospitality is among the fastest-growing industries for jobs and wages

Rochester, N.Y. (May 2, 2017) — The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch for April shows a decline in small business jobs growth, but continued rising wages for workers. According to the report, the Small Business Jobs Index declined 0.22 percent in April to 100.50, losing gains from the first quarter of the year. National hourly earnings in April were $25.67, increasing 2.73 percent ($0.68) year-over-year.

"The acceleration of job gains in the first quarter of 2017 has been short-lived, but small business expansion remains a healthy 0.50 percent above its baseline," said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

"The decline in the April index mirrors what was reported last month by BLS, which showed deceleration of job growth," said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. "At the same time, the wage report shows continued growth in both hourly earnings and hours worked over the past year."

April 2017 Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch

Employment Watch data for April

National Jobs Index

  • The national index gave up its 2017 gains in April, and is now 0.27 percent below last year's employment growth level.
  • The Small Business Jobs Index in April lost all the momentum gained early in the year, declining 0.22 percent to 100.50.
Historical data for the small business jobs index

National Wage Report

  • Hourly earnings in April were $25.67, increasing 2.73 percent or $0.68 year over year.
  • The three-month annualized growth rate was 2.98 percent, indicating a slight 2017 acceleration.
  • Weekly earnings were up 2.92 percent from last year, as hours worked increased slightly, 0.18 percent.
  • Until September 2015, annual hourly earnings growth had not exceeded 2.0 percent. It has increased gradually since, passing 2.50 percent in February 2016, and peaking at 2.93 percent in August, from which it has slowly decreased to 2.73 percent this April.
Historical data for the wage report

Regional Jobs Index

  • All four regions slowed in April, with the Midwest falling the most, as job growth retrenched back to its 2016 pace.
  • At 101.49, the South continues to far outpace other regions and is the only region with an increase over a year ago.
  • Declining 0.38 percent in the past four months, the Northeast is below 100 for the first time since 2015.
Regional map data for the small business jobs index

Regional Wage Report

  • Regional wage growth was strongest in the West as hourly earnings were up 3.50 percent year over year. Conversely, the South showed the slowest wage growth with hourly earnings increasing 2.29 percent.
  • Hours worked were up everywhere except in the Northeast, where there was no change from last year. The Midwest had the largest increase in weekly hours worked, up 0.60 percent during the past 12 months.
Regional map data for the wage report

State Jobs Index

  • With its fourth consecutive increase in 2017, Florida was the only state with strong job gains in April, passing Georgia, and trailing only Tennessee.
  • North Carolina, Ohio, and Missouri suffered sharp drops in April.
  • North Carolina, which also lagged in the first quarter per BLS, is now below 100 for the first time since 2011, and is ahead of only New York and Illinois.
State data for the small business jobs index

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest states based on U.S. population

State Wage Report

  • Arizona, up 4.37 percent, led states in hourly earnings growth, while California, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Tennessee, and Wisconsin also had strong growth, exceeding 3.0 percent.
  • Arizona and Michigan are experiencing rapid wage acceleration in 2017, as their annualized three-month hourly earnings growth rates are outpacing their currently strong annual growth rates.
  • Missouri and Texas, up 0.86 percent and 1.32 percent, respectively, had the weakest year-over-year wage gains.
State data for the wage report

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest states based on U.S. population

Metropolitan Jobs Index

  • Three southern cities, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami, all have index levels above 102 and lead job growth among metro areas by a large margin.
  • Florida metros Tampa and Miami led small business job gains in April, up 1.11 percent and 0.77 percent, respectively.
  • St. Louis has improved year over year, but continues to trend below the national baseline and, at 99.17 in April, exceeds only Houston.
Metro data for the small business jobs index

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest metro areas based on U.S. population.

Metropolitan Wage Report

  • Hourly earnings topped $30 in Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston. Weekly earnings topped $1,000 in Washington and San Francisco.
  • Three of the top four metros for hourly earnings growth are in California, with Riverside ranking first, up 4.97 percent year-over-year. Hourly earnings in nearby Phoenix are strong and showing continued improvement, gaining 4.21 percent from last year and 6.57 percent on an annualized basis during the past quarter.
  • St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia, are all reporting wage growth at less than 2.0 percent.
  • Hours worked grew significantly from a year ago in Seattle, Denver, and Dallas.
Metro data for the wage report

Note: Analysis is provided for the 20 largest metro areas based on U.S. population.

Industry Jobs Index

  • The decline in April was broadly based across sectors; Leisure and Hospitality declined the most, but still boasts the strongest 12-month growth rate and the second-highest ranked index among industries, at 101.31.
  • Ahead of only Manufacturing, Professional and Business services fell below 99, its weakest job growth level since 2010.
Industry data for the small business jobs index

Note: Analysis is provided for seven major industry sectors.

Industry Wage Report

  • Professional and Business Services and Financial Activities lead in weekly earnings, both over $1,000, while Leisure and Hospitality has the lowest weekly earnings.
  • Manufacturing was the only industry to show a decrease in hours worked year over year.
  • Likely tied to increases in minimum wage, at 4.42 percent, Leisure and Hospitality had one of the fastest growth rates for hourly earnings among industries.
Industry data for the wage report

Note: Analysis is provided for seven major industry sectors.

More Information

For more information about the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch, visit the website and sign up to receive monthly Employment Watch alerts.

*Information regarding the professions included in the industry data can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

About the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch

The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch is released each month by Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of payroll, human resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small-to medium-sized businesses, and IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics, and expertise. Focused exclusively on small business, the monthly report offers analysis of national employment and wage trends, as well as examines regional, state, metro, and industry sector activity. Drawing from the payroll data of approximately 350,000 Paychex clients, this powerful tool delivers real-time insights into the small business trends driving the U.S. economy.

Media Contacts

Lisa Fleming
Paychex, Inc.
585-387-6402
lfleming@paychex.com
@PaychexNews

Dan Wilinsky
IHS Markit
303-397-2468
dan.wilinsky@ihsmarkit.com

Tess Alberts
Eric Mower + Associates
716-880-1488
talberts@mower.com