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U.S. Small Business Job and Wage Growth Remain Steady

According to the Paychex Small Business Employment Watch, the Small Business Jobs Index grew 0.18 percentage points in March to 100.85 – the first increase year-to-date – but remained below pre-pandemic levels for the first three months of 2024. Hourly earnings growth for workers at U.S. companies with fewer than 50 employees continued a steady deceleration that began in mid-2022, ending March at 3.27% growth year-over-year.

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The Paychex Small Business Employment Watch showed the first increase in small business job growth in three months in March. Hourly earnings for workers moderated to 3.27%. (Photo: Business Wire)

The Paychex Small Business Employment Watch showed the first increase in small business job growth in three months in March. Hourly earnings for workers moderated to 3.27%. (Photo: Business Wire)

“An increase in the jobs index coupled with a continued moderation of wage growth reflects a relatively stable macroeconomic environment,” said John Gibson, Paychex president and CEO. “A tight job market for qualified workers, reduced access to affordable growth capital, and inflationary pressures continue to be headwinds for small and mid-sized businesses. They continue to manage hours worked to control cost and deal with inflation.”

“Our clients tell us they are still struggling to find qualified employees and we continue to be committed to providing them with the right HCM technology, tools, and advisory services that will help them attract and retain talent,” added Gibson. “We’ve also seen that offering affordable benefits like healthcare insurance and retirement plans can help business owners compete for talent.”

Jobs Index and Wage Data Highlights:

  • With a national jobs index of 100.85 in March, the pace of small business job growth increased for the first time in 2024. The current national index is 1.01 percentage points below the mark set in March 2023 (101.86).
  • Weekly earnings growth 3.05% in March as weekly hours worked remained down slightly year-over-year.
  • The Midwest overtook the South as the top-ranked region with four of the top five states for small business job growth being in the Midwest. Indiana led all states with a jobs index of 102.88.
  • All regions and every industry except Manufacturing showed positive job growth in March.

The complete Small Business Employment Watch results for March 2024, including interactive charts detailing the data at a national, regional, state, metro, and industry sector level are available at Learn more and sign up to receive monthly Employment Watch alerts.

About the Paychex Small Business Employment Watch

The Paychex Small Business Employment Watch is released each month by Paychex, Inc. Focused exclusively on businesses with less than 50 workers, 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 industry benchmark delivers real-time insights into the small business trends driving the U.S. economy.

About Paychex

Paychex, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX) is an industry-leading HCM company delivering a full suite of technology and advisory services in human resources, employee benefit solutions, insurance, and payroll. The company serves approximately 740,000 customers in the U.S. and Europe and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. The more than 16,000 people at Paychex are committed to helping businesses succeed and building thriving communities where they work and live. Visit to learn more.


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