Small Businesses

Friday, Jul 23, 2010

Statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration [sba.gov]:

A small business [is] an independent business having fewer than 500 employees.

Small businesses employ just over half of U.S. workers. Of 119.9 million nonfarm private sector workers in 2006, small firms with fewer than 500 workers employed 60.2 million and large firms employed 59.7 million. Firms with fewer than 20 employees employed 21.6 million. Small firms’ share of part-time workers (21 percent) is similar to large firms’ share (18 percent).

Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.

Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).

Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).

Very small firms with fewer than 20 employees annually spend 45 percent more per employee than larger firms to comply with federal regulations. These very small firms spend four and a half times as much per employee to comply with environmental regulations and 67 percent more per employee on tax compliance than their larger counterparts.

Firms with fewer than 500 employees accounted for 64 percent (or 14.5 million) of the 22.5 million net new jobs (gains minus losses) between 1993 and the third quarter of 2008.

In 2008, there were 29.6 million businesses in the United States, according to Office of Advocacy estimates. Census data show that there were 6.0 million firms with employees in 2006 and 21.7 million without employees in 2007 (the latest available data). Small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.9 percent of the 29.6 million businesses (including both employers and nonemployers), as the most recent data show there were about 18,000 large businesses in 2006.

In 2007, the overall rate of self-employment (unincorporated and incorporated) was 10 percent.

Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.