ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona leads nation for small business job growth, report finds

Aug 9, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: 12:24 pm
(Pexels photo)...
(Pexels photo)
(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — A payroll company found Arizona now leads the nation in small business job growth.

The Small Business Employment Watch from Paychex and its approximately 350,000 clients shows Arizona’s small business jobs index is at 101.72 after rising 1.32% last month, good for fourth-best in July behind Washington, Georgia and Massachusetts.

Over the past year, Arizona’s small business jobs index has risen nearly 6%.

The numbers show a return to pre-pandemic levels for not only Arizona but across the country as the small business jobs index nationwide is at 99.36, up more than 1% over the last quarter and 5% from last year.

“A lot of those restaurants are coming back online, opening the doors and turning on the lights,” Frank Fiorelle, vice president of risk, compliance and data analytics at Paychex, said.

“That’s where most of the growth is, and same thing on the wages and compensation standpoint.”

Hourly earnings growth in Arizona is at 3.30%, according to the report, good for eighth-best among the country’s 20 largest states.

Nationwide, the average hourly wage growth is at 3.11%, up from 2.84% for Paychex clients.

Fiorelle says businesses are paying sign-on bonuses, even in leisure and hospitality.

He is now watching for potential impacts due to the COVID-19 delta variant, such as a possible loss of clientele as daily cases increase in Arizona and across the country.

“Probably, there would be a correlation with spikes,” Fiorelle said. “But not everyone in the U.S. is being impacted as much as others. That would be something that would come out in the data in the future.”

Fiorelle added states that reopened their economies earlier have higher job creation rates.

Among the country’s 20 most populated cities, Phoenix placed third with a jobs index of 101.57 and came in at No. 8 with an hourly earnings growth of 3.25%, according to the report.

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Arizona leads nation for small business job growth, report finds