There’s good news and bad news on jobs and wages at small businesses around the Tampa Bay area.
The good news: The bay area was the nation’s second best-performing major metropolitan area for small business job growth.
The bad news: Wages in the region averaged $24.80 an hour in February, or 2.09 percent higher than for the same month a year ago. That put the region 15th among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas for year-over-year growth in hourly wages.
These numbers are from Tuesday’s Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch, a monthly analysis of trends in hiring and pay at companies with fewer than 50 employees.
Nationwide, hiring remained strong, with a third straight month of small business employment growth. The last time that occured was in early 2017.
But the upbeat trend came with a caveat.
"These results have yet to reflect any impact from cases of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), which are expected to increase in the coming months,” Paychex president and chief executive officer Martin Mucci said in announcing the numbers.
Nationwide, average earnings were up 2.74 percent year over year to $27.62 an hour. Florida ranked second among states for job growth and 10th for wage growth, with a 2.59 percent annual growth rate and an average hourly wage of $25.14.
Miami, the only other Florida city on the list, ranked fifth in employment growth and seventh in wage growth, with a 3 percent annual growth rate that has pushed average wages there to $27.42 an hour.