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The August CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends among companies with 300 or fewer employees, further decreased by .36 percent through the month, after posting a decrease of .90 percent in July. Today’s announcement follows ADP’s August jobs survey, which showed that the private sector added 91,000 jobs in August, reasonably lower than the 109,000 jobs added in July. Additionally, the August count modestly missed analysts’ expectations of 100,000 new jobs.

Philip Noftsinger, CPA and business unit president for CBIZ Payroll Services, said while they focus solely on small businesses, their monthly data is very consistent with other employment indicators offered by the marketplace. Most of the statistical information we are seeing related to employment is showing a "no-change" result, and our metric is no different, showing a very mild decline, he said.

Of the companies that were surveyed, the data shows that 26 percent reported a decrease in employee headcount while 23 percent increased staffing, while 51 percent of the companies involved in the survey maintained their number of employees. According to the first CBIZ Small Business Market Survey, a survey offered to the companies involved in the SBEI, almost 28 percent are looking to deploy growth strategies in the coming year, focused primarily on marketing and e-commerce.

In terms of employment, more than 49 percent of the market survey respondents were looking to add workers in the next three months, while more than 37 percent indicated that they will maintain their current workforce levels. That may not be enough to keep pace with the growth of the labor pool, translating to either consistent unemployment levels or the potential for a mild improvement over the next quarter.

"Anecdotally, we are seeing continued confirmation that consumer demand and the overall economic attitude of consumers as the top reasons affecting growth among small businesses," Noftsinger explained. Currently, CBIZ Payroll Services manages payroll services for approximately 3,000 businesses that employ fewer than 300 people. The sample reflects an array of industries and geographies corresponding to the markets across the United States where CBIZ provides services.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: August Employment Index Reveals Another Retreat In Hiring: Report