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Small businesses are gradually expanding their workforces, as hiring challenges may be easing in the U.S. economy, according to the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index. Despite high interest rates, the country’s economy continues to show strength.

The CBIZ index monitors hiring trends among thousands of companies with 300 or fewer employees throughout the United States. Small businesses often struggle to retain employees due to their inability to provide higher wages or additional benefits like health insurance. However, Anna Rathbun, Chief Investment Officer at CBIZ, notes that unexpected resilience has been displayed by the U.S. economy in the face of high interest rates.

According to Rathbun, small businesses are capitalizing on this strength and gradually expanding their workforces throughout February. Approximately 20% of companies in the index increased their staff, while 60% maintained the same headcounts. Meanwhile, 20% reduced their staff numbers. While certain industries are performing more favorably than others – sectors such as administrative and support services, arts, entertainment, recreation, and technology and life sciences showed hiring growth – others like accommodation and food services, insurance, and utilities experienced declines.

Regionally, the West region saw a slight increase in hiring trends among small businesses in February, followed closely by Southeast and Central regions with slight increases each. On the other hand

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