The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (“SBEI”) reported a stark increase in small business hiring in June, with a seasonally adjusted reading of 1.82%. This marks a turnaround in small business hiring over April and May, which recorded the top two greatest declines in the 11-year CBIZ SBEI history. The CBIZ SBEI tracks payroll and hiring trends for over 3,400 companies that have 300 or fewer employees, providing broad insight into small business trends.

The June data displays the first real signs of hiring growth since the COVID-19 pandemic prompted nationwide business closures and pullbacks in March.

According to the data, private-sector employment rose by 2,369,000 on a month-over-month, seasonally adjusted basis. Small businesses specifically increased by 937,000.

Accommodation and Food Services reported double-digit growth, and Retail Trade reported high single-digit growth. Real Estate, Arts and Entertainment, and Construction reported growth as well, meeting expectations stemming from widespread reopening initiatives across the country. The only industry that showed decline was Information.

June’s snapshot: 30.1% of companies in the index gained employees, 51.4% held employment steady and 18.5% lowered employment levels.

Industries at a glance: Accommodation and Food Services, Retail Trade, Real Estate, Arts and Entertainment, and Construction all noted small business hiring growth. Yet, hiring for Information decreased.

Geographical hiring: Hiring increased in the Northeast, Central and Southeast regions but declined in the West. The data suggests that the West generally reopened later than the other regions.

What’s next? With a recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases, and states such as Florida and Arizona moving toward reinstituting some restrictions, recovery may take longer than anticipated. This could impact small business hiring moving forward.