Thursday, July 23, 2009

America Runs on Small Business

Data below are based on the article "America Runs on Small Business" by Mike Clough:

1. In 2007, there were 27.2 million businesses in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy. Census data show that there were 6.0 million firms with employees and 20.4 million without employees in 2005. Small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.94% of the 27.2 million businesses (including both employers and nonemployers), as the most recent data show there were slightly more than 17,000 large businesses (500+ employees) in 2005.

2. Of the 6.022 million U.S. firms with employees in 2006, here are the breakdowns by firm size (number of employees) as a percent of the total number of firms (data here):

Firms with fewer than 500 employees (6.004 million): 99.70% of all firms

Firms with 500+ employees (18,071): 0.30% of total

Firms with fewer than 100 employees (5.91m): 98.2% of total

Firms with fewer than 20 employees (5.37m): 89.3%

Firms with fewer than 10 employees (4.73m): 78.56%

Firms with fewer than 5 employees (3.67m): 61% of all firms.

3. From the article "America Runs On Small Business":

According to Census Bureau data on high-patent industries, 98% of the companies patenting telecommunications technology employ fewer than 500 people. In the software publishing industry, 97% of the companies patenting software employ fewer than 500 people. In aerospace products and parts manufacturing, the percentage is 92%. In pharmaceuticals and medical manufacturing, it is 90%. In semiconductor machinery manufacturing, 87% of the companies that patent technology employ fewer than 500 people.

HT: Jeff Perry


At 7/23/2009 12:09 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

Those are all salient points, but I hope your readers don't think this is an excuse to beat up on big businesses. I argue that large firms are nearly as critical to our nation as small businesses.

At 7/23/2009 12:10 PM, Blogger Tom said...

I'd like to know how many employees are in each company-size group. The figure 26 million businesses means than many companies are just one person.

Ex: What count and percent of workers are in the over-500 category?

How many are 1, 2, 3-5, 5-10, 10-100, etc.?

At 7/23/2009 12:34 PM, Anonymous Rand said...

If a person has two jobs, one with a "large" employer and another with a "small" employer, is that person counted twice?

At 7/23/2009 12:35 PM, Blogger QT said...


Good point.

Just checking quickly, it appears that 50.4% of all jobs in America come from small business. See also

WRT breakdown by business size, did not find anything in a cursory search. Perhaps, you might look into that. It is a very intersting point.

At 7/24/2009 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm writing from StoryCorps, America's largest nonprofit national oral history project. I thought you and your blog readers would be interested in listening to StoryCorps' latest story to broadcast on NPR this morning. Lawrence Anthony, who has been cutting hair for over 60 years, and fellow barber David Shirley, talk about their work. You can take a listen here (about 4 minutes):
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening. Since 2003, tens of thousands of people from across the country have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to take home and share and is also archived for generations to come at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to the award-winning broadcasts on public radio and the Internet. Select stories have also been published in the New York Times bestselling book, Listening Is an Act of Love.

I hope you take the time to listen and share.

Amber Leigh

At 7/24/2009 6:03 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"The figure 26 million businesses means than many companies are just one person"...

Good point Tom...

The thing about even single person businesses is how many other small businesses to they help keep afloat?

I.E. gas stations, resturants, legal outfits, etc all benefit from small business people..


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