• Small Business Hiring Ticks Up, Home Prices Hit Another Record, Retail Foot Traffic Slows

    Small businesses in leisure and hospitality have had to increase wages to attract employees. (Getty Images)
    Small businesses in leisure and hospitality have had to increase wages to attract employees. (Getty Images)
    By Richard Lawson
    CoStar News
    Small Business Hiring Ticks Up

    Small business hiring edged up in September, but owners are having to pay more to do it, according to a monthly report from a payroll company.

    Paychex’s index, prepared with data analytics company IHS Markit, rose to 99.95 in September from 99.8. Texas took the top spot for growth with an index reading of 102.9.

    If the index hits the 100 mark, then hiring will hit the benchmark set in 2004 when economic growth was deemed "normal." That last happened in June 2017. For the first time since Paychex started reporting wages a decade ago, the annual improvement in average hourly earnings exceeded $1 to hit $29.86 in September. The highest wage growth among the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the country were in Los Angeles and Riverdale, California; Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; and Tampa, Florida.
    “The leisure and hospitality sector, with its many job openings across the country, is seeing the highest hourly earnings growth across all industries in September,” Martin Mucci, Paychex’s CEO, said in a statement.

    The payroll company’s report kicks off the jobs-reporting week for September, which is being closely watched for signs of any slowing in the economic recovery. Last month, ADP and Labor Department reports fell short of expectations when the August numbers were reported.

    Homes Prices Hit Another Record

    The annual rise in home prices in August hit the highest level in the 45 years a leading index has existed.

    Property data and analytics firm CoreLogic’s monthly index showed an 18.1% increase from a year ago. Month-over-month prices increased 1.3% from July.

    Single-family detached home prices rose 19.8% compared to 12% for attached homes such as duplexes, townhouses and condominiums, according to CoreLogic’s index.

    “Single-family detached homes continue to be in high demand,” Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, said in a statement.

    Idaho and Arizona were the top states for home price growth. Idaho’s prices were up 32.2%, while Arizona’s rose 29.5%.

    Retail Fall Foot Traffic Slows

    Retail consumers hitting brick-and-mortar locations drove and uptick in foot traffic to better levels than 2019 but those numbers diminished once back-to-school season ended, according to a company that tracks and analyzes anonymous mobile phone location data.

    Pacer Labs, a Silicon Valley company, shows that foot traffic during most weeks in June, July and August exceeded 2019 numbers by as much as 9%. That traffic dropped off, however, in mid-August before ticking up some above 2019 levels later in the month and in early September around Labor Day.
    Placer’s data ends the week of Sept. 13, which showed a 3% decline from 2019.

    Traffic numbers for fitness centers and apparel stores tracked well through the summer before following the down pattern into the fall and dropping below 2019 levels in mid-September. Grocery store traffic has stayed above 2019 levels since the week of May 24. Traffic slowed into late August and September but remains above 2019 levels.

    Source: CoStar Group, www.costar.com