Market Overview

CBIZ Small Business Employment Index Shows Uncharacteristic December Flattening


- Small businesses refrain from typical employment increases for the
holiday season -

Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), which tracks hiring trends among
thousands of companies that employ 300 or fewer employees across the
U.S., reported a month-over-month decrease in hiring of 0.49 percent in
December, following an increase in hiring of 0.48 percent in November.

"The December SBEI showed a flat reading for small business hiring, a
contrast to the usual much more positive seasonal result," says Philip
, Executive Vice President, CBIZ Employee Benefits. "This
reading adds to an already nervous mood going into 2019."

ADP and Moody's Analytics reported Wednesday that the private sector
posted an employment increase of 271,000 jobs month-over-month on a
seasonally adjusted basis. Small businesses accounted for 89,000 of
those jobs and the report found that all sectors reported an increase.

To view an infographic with data from the employment index, visit
the CBIZ blog.1

Additional takeaways from the December SBEI include:

  • December's snapshot: When compared to the November SBEI
    reading, 24 percent of companies increased their headcounts, 52
    percent refrained from making labor changes, and 24 percent decreased
    their employee totals. Since the SBEI's inception in June 2009, the
    December reading has seen an average hiring increase of 1.15 percent;
    and this year's reading is the largest decrease during the December
  • Industries at a glance: Of the industries reflected in the
    index, Professional Services, Retail Trade, Wholesale Distribution,
    and Non-Profits posted job growth. Conversely, Arts and Entertainment,
    Real Estate, Construction and, surprisingly, Healthcare posted
  • Geographical hiring: In December, the Northeast, Southeast and
    Central regions experienced hiring decreases of 1.2, 0.93 and 0.34
    percent, respectively. The West posted the only hiring increase of 0.2
  • What's next? With many economists calling for a recession, it's
    possible we are seeing the first signs of that now. Washington is
    unlikely to provide any fiscal help, with Congress now in full
    gridlock mode. We'll have to wait and see if the Federal Reserve slows
    down its rate increases, based on the softening macro data.

CBIZ Payroll Services manages payroll services for more than 4,000
businesses. Its index reflects a broad array of industries and
geographies corresponding to the markets across the U.S. where CBIZ
provides human capital services. The data represented by the SBEI is
derived from a segment of employers not completely accounted for by the
ADP and federal Bureau of Labor Statistics employment reports.

Editor's note:

(1) The SBEI illustration is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on our work at

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About CBIZ, Inc.

CBIZ, Inc. provides professional business services that help clients
better manage their finances and employees. CBIZ provides its clients
with financial services including accounting, tax, financial advisory,
government health care consulting, risk advisory, real estate consulting
and valuation services. Employee services include employee benefits
consulting, property and casualty insurance, retirement plan consulting,
payroll, life insurance, HR consulting and executive recruitment. As one
of the largest accounting, insurance brokerage and valuation companies
in the United States, the company's services are provided through more
than 100 company offices in 33 states. CBIZ Employee Services
Organization is a division of CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc.

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