Small businesses are slowly adding to their workforce as the US economy continues to perform well despite high interest rates, according to the latest data from the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index. In February, there was a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.17%, indicating that small businesses are becoming more optimistic about hiring.

One of the main reasons small businesses struggle to retain employees is because they cannot offer competitive wages or benefits such as health insurance. The CBIZ Index tracks hiring trends among thousands of companies with 300 or fewer employees across the country, and it shows that small businesses are starting to hire more workers.

According to Anna Rathbun, CBIZ’s chief investment officer, the unexpected strength of the U.S. economy was reflected in continued growth in the small business workforce in February. Approximately 20% of the companies in the index hired more employees, while 60% kept the current number of employees, and 20% reduced the number of employees.

Certain industries are faring better than others in terms of employment, with sectors such as administrative and support services, arts and entertainment, and technology and life sciences experiencing gains. In contrast, industries such as accommodation and food services, insurance and utilities saw employment decline.

Regionally, the West, Southeast and Central regions saw a slight increase in employment, while the Northeast region experienced a slight decline. This small business hiring trend is in line with the broader market, as US employers added 275,000 jobs in February

By Samantha Johnson

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