Small Business Hiring Soars in December
Despite months of reported skilled labor shortages that left many small businesses with job positions they couldn’t fill, new numbers from the payroll company ADP show that small business hiring surged in the last month of 2019. As Orlando’s WFTV reports, ADP found that its small businesses customers added 89,000 new jobs in December. For comparison the company revised its previously-announced November hiring numbers to 38,000 — less than half of what December brought. Thanks to strong capper to the year, the average number of jobs added each month of 2018 was 42,000.
For the sake of ADP’s employment report, it defines a small business as one with fewer than 50 employees. However the company also broke down December’s figures even further, attributing 25,000 of the jobs added to businesses with as many as 19 employees and the other 63,000 to businesses with 20 to 49 employees. Meanwhile what ADP describes as mid-sized businesses (those with 50 to 499 employees) also saw impressive hiring figures in December, totaling 129,000.
Of course it wasn’t just small and midsize businesses throwing their hiring into overdrive last month. Bloomberg reports ADP’s private sector business customers added a total of 271,000 jobs in December. That’s head and shoulders above the 180,000 jobs that analysts and economists had forecasted and is also a vast improvement from November’s 157,000 total. In fact Bloomberg notes that last month’s figures were the best since early 2017.
In a statement regarding the report ADP Research Institute co-head Ahu Yildirmaz said, “We wrapped up 2018 with another month of significant growth in the labor market. Although there were increases in most sectors, the busy holiday season greatly impacted both trade and leisure and hospitality.” He added, “Small businesses also experienced their strongest month of job growth all year.” What’s also impressive is that, as Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi notes, “Businesses continue to add aggressively to their payrolls despite the stock market slump and the trade war.” This month’s growth even led him to declare, “At the current pace of job growth, low unemployment will get even lower.”
With small businesses enjoying a year filled with record optimism, it does make sense that they’d conclude 2018 on another positive note. Not only is the strong hiring seen in December good news for the economy overall but also seems to signal that businesses aren’t as shackled by the skilled labor shortage as once thought. With that it looks like 2019 will once again be a promising year for small businesses — even if there are surely some challenges ahead.