Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

The Jobs Index in the U.S. dropped by 0.15 percent to 98.78 in March 2019, according to the Paychex/HIS Market’s Small Business Employment Watch.  A downward trend in the Index indicates a sign of a slowdown while an upward trend is a sign of a strengthening job market.

A small business is defined in the report as a company with less than 50 employees, and about 95 percent of all companies in the U.S. are included in this category.

According to Paychex president and CEO Martin Mucci, small business owners are less optimistic about finding qualified candidates to fill job vacancies. The growth of small business hiring was weakest in the Northeast and strongest in the South. The highest small business job growth was in Texas while the highest wage growth was in California. The national average weekly earnings in March 2019 increased by 2.06 percent to $875.70 compared to 2018. The manufacturing sector scored 97 in the job index and reported an hourly wage rate of $26.82.

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