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The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index reported a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.17% in February, indicating that the U.S. economy remains strong despite high interest rates. This positive development suggests that hiring woes may be easing for small businesses across the country.

Small businesses often struggle to retain workers due to their inability to offer higher salaries or additional benefits like health insurance. The CBIZ index monitors hiring trends among thousands of companies with 300 or fewer employees nationwide.

According to Anna Rathbun, chief investment officer of CBIZ, the U.S. economy has exhibited unexpected strength in the current high interest rate environment. This has enabled small businesses to steadily expand their workforce during the month of February, with 20% of companies increasing their staff and 60% maintaining their current headcounts. Additionally, 20% of companies decreased their staff numbers during the same period.

Certain industries have seen better hiring results than others, with sectors such as administrative and support services, arts, entertainment and recreation, as well as technology and life sciences reporting hiring gains, while industries like accommodation and food services, insurance, and utilities experienced decreases in employment growth. Regionally, the West, Southeast, and Central regions saw slight increases in hiring activity while the Northeast region saw a slight decline in employment growth compared to other regions.

These trends in the small business sector are reflective of the broader market, as U.S employers added 275,000 jobs in February surpassing expectations and demonstrating the resilience of the U.S economy despite high interest rates . February’s job growth marked an improvement from the revised gain of 229

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