Small Business Job Growth Continues, Albeit Slowly

The economic recovery seen over most of 2014 has been uneven at best in a lot of cases, and that trend certainly continued in the month of September. As a consequence, small business job growth continued to fall on a monthly basis even as it remained above the year-ago levels somewhat comfortably.

The latest Small Business Jobs Index came in at a reading of 100.85, indicating that things are still above the benchmark number that indicates solid growth, but only marginally, according to the latest data from Paychex and IHS. However, while that number is also down from the levels north of 101 routinely seen for all of the first seven months of the year, it’s also up slightly from Sept. 2013’s numbers.

“Though still performing stronger than in 2013, the small business job market has cooled a bit in the second half of 2014,” said James Diffley, the chief regional economist at IHS. “At 100.85, the Paychex/ IHS Small Business Jobs Index contracted again in September, remaining below the 101 level it exceeded from January through July. Year-over-year gains continue to trend positively, 0.13 percent, as the index is higher than at any time in the second half of 2013.”

A deeper look
Over the last three months, there has been a 0.22 percent decline in small business job conditions, because following an increase of 0.03 percent in July, there were drops of 0.11 percent and 0.14 percent in the next two months, the report said. In fact, there have been four declines in the last five months, indicating that, even though conditions remains relatively strong, they’re still not ideal.

However, it should be noted that those are only national numbers, and on a state-by-state basis, the changes can vary widely, the report said. For instance, Wisconsin led the nation last month with an increase of 0.45 percent in its growth, which kept it above a 103 reading. That was also the third straight month in which the state picked up ground. Washington was also slightly above 103, while Texas was the only one to clear 102. Pennsylvania and Tennessee rounded out the top five.

Owners who want to position their companies for better financial footing going forward may want to consider the benefit of seeking out reduced costs for their small business insurance. For instance, by finding more affordable liability insurance, they may be able to save thousands of dollars for their bottom lines annually.