RALEIGH – Small businesses continued to add jobs last month, a new report from Paychex found.  But the pace of growth slowed compared to the prior month.

The index known as the Small Business Jobs Index was measured at 100.81 in June 2022, down from 100.87 in May 2022, according to a statement.

That’s up 2.32% from June 2021, however.

“Our June report shows continued job growth for small businesses. The pace of that growth slowed slightly from the previous month, however,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex CEO, in a statement. “This month’s data also showed a slight decline in hourly earnings growth, the first decrease in 13 months. Despite this, growth remains strong, above five percent.”

Triangle’s vibrant economy — nearly 50,000 open positions — a buffer should recession come

July set to be a key month

And the South is the strongest region for small business employment growth according to the report’s regional jobs index.  That, along with a labor market where employers are seeking to fill more than 50,000 jobs in the Triangle, could buffer the state’s economy should a recession occur.

“July will be a key month to watch the releases of economic data to determine if we are headed into a recession,” said Dr. Anne York, an economist, professor, and program director at Meredith College.  “Our North Carolina economy tends to track the direction of the national economy fairly closely.”

In fact, North Carolina is among the best states in the country, according to the small business jobs index.

The state ranks second in the nation in the rate of small business employment growth last month, with an index measure of 102.75.  And North Carolina was only edged out of the top spot by Texas, by 0.1 point.

Further, North Carolina In North Carolina, the 12-month growth was 2.16%, according to the report.  That’s actually faster than Texas, which saw a 2.13% growth year-over-year.

“We are fortunate in North Carolina to rely on a diversified set of industries that will keep our economy more stable than states who rely on fewer industries,” said York.

Through turbulent labor market, job opportunities abound in the Triangle

Hourly wage growth also strong in South, NC

And wage growth was strong in the South, as well, compared to other regions, according to the analysis.  The region led all regions in the growth of hourly earnings, at 5.44%, and weekly earnings growth, at 4.86%.

And North Carolina outperformed the regional average when it comes to hourly wage growth, ranking fourth of any state, with an hourly wage growth of 5.92%, the data show.

“The small business economy still is in recovery phase with continued job gains, and, surprisingly, moderating wage gains,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit, in a statement.  IHS Markit and Paychex jointly release the monthly index, which draws from data of about 350,000 Paychex clients.

Workplace turmoil, labor shortages, inflation give small business owners a confidence crisis