Small company hiring in Phoenix moved into positive territory with March gains over February 2021, according to the Paychex IHS Markit Small Business Watch for the third month of 2021. New jobs posted a 0.61 percent gain in month-over-month dating, placing Greater Phoenix second behind Dallas, Texas.

Job gains in Phoenix, paired with a nearly four percent year-over-year increase in weekly wages, show ongoing economic recovery signs. The average earnings in the Valley grew to $940 per week, placing the metro area tenth among large markets. Riverside, California, topped the list with an eight percent earnings jump. Boston was second with nearly six percent, followed by almost five percent hikes in New York and San Francisco.

In addition to increases in the number of hires, people are working more hours per week. Greater Phoenix landed in the top five metro area rankings for weekly work hours in March 2021, up 0.94 percent over last March. Tempered by the mid-March 2020 pandemic start, the year-ago figure reflects the beginning of the state-ordered lock-down.

Paychex, a national payroll and human resources support company for small businesses, has its western regional headquarters in Phoenix. The Small Business Employment Watch is its monthly publication assessing economic change among the company’s hundreds of small business clients around the U.S.

The gains in March are a continuing show of economic recovery in Greater Phoenix. The March 2021 small business employment numbers come on the heels of the recent Arizona Employment Report, which also shows overall Phoenix area hiring continuing month-over-month growth. The Paychex small company year-over-year data show the small business workforce is 3.3 percent less in March than the same month last year. The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity’s most current metro area workforce numbers report the Phoenix metro February workforce at 3.6 percent less than the previous year for all companies.

Despite a solid March 2021 earnings gain in the Phoenix metro, the average small company pays its workers $28.08 per hour, about a dollar-an-hour less than the national average. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Arizona shares the nation’s lead for year-over-year 2020 personal income growth with an 8.4 percent increase. According to Paychex, wages and earnings, one component of personal income, are rising more slowly among small companies.