Paychex: Small businesses’ wages booming

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Countless small businesses have shut down, some for good, because of the pandemic.

Experts at Paychex, a national payroll services company, headquartered here in Rochester, say they expect the tables will turn this year. Its Vice President of Risk Management, Compliance, and Data Analytics Frank Fiorille said local shops and restaurants closed 2021 with an almost 5% hourly wage increase.

"What we’re seeing now is they’re coming back fast and furious, not only from a hiring perspective but compensation standpoint,” Fiorille said.

It’s no question that the pandemic has been brutal on small businesses, but privately owned businesses have the luxury to design how they operate, and over the last year, that meant getting creative.

"Increasing wages, and even at restaurants you’re seeing businesses paying out bonuses and getting creative to keep people, that’s clearly happening in Rochester,” Fiorille said.

Fiorille told News10NBC that in December of last year, average hourly earnings hit $30, which means employers are handling the pressures of the tight labor market, so, workers, even new hires are benefiting.

"There was a lot of stimulus money pumped into this, people for whatever reason, didn’t necessarily have to go back to work, but some of that is winding down now and coming to an end so businesses will have an easier and better time finding people,” Fiorille added.

Some, are leaving corporate because they can make more money at a smaller business, and more people are starting their own businesses.

"Small business creation is at record levels, almost like an opportunity that they always wanted to do it, and now is the time to do it, maybe their balance sheet is the strongest it’s ever been, and for whatever reason didn’t want to go back to work so they start their own business,” Fiorille said.

Experts say the hiring process for small businesses, including here in Rochester, increased and they expect that to continue to get better as well.