In its recently released 2011 annual report, the SBA Office of Advocacy takes a close look at how small businesses are faring across the country at the state level. Among the metrics collected and analyzed in this survey are: total number of businesses per state, store openings/closing, business foreclosures, and demographic information on the small business owners out there today. It’s important to note that within the framework of this study, a small business is defined as those firms that have fewer than 500 employees.

In their small business profile, the SBA uses the latest data currently available to determine the condition of small businesses in the U.S. Based on current numbers, the SBA’s report revealed the following:

  • Small businesses were responsible for employing 56.3 million workers in 2009, with the majority of employment coming from firms that have 20–499 employees. The percentage of private workforce hovered around 50 percent, depending on the state. For instance, in Ohio it was 48%, New York 51.7 percent, California 51%, Minnesota 49.9%, Arizona 46%, and Colorado 49.3%.
  • Most of the small businesses across the country are relatively small at this time. Overall, 78.5 percent of the businesses did not have employees at all, and many that did employee staff had fewer than 20.
  • There are still more male small business owners than women. For instance, in Maryland there were 270,000 male-owned firms, compared with 172,000 female-owned firms, while in North Carolina there were 421,000 male-owned firms compared with 226,000 female-owned establishments. Most other state’s numbers reflect this trend.
  • Over the past decade, self-employment numbers have surged. Among demographic groups, minority self-employed workers fared the best overall. Male self-employment was almost double that of female.
  • And finally, small businesses continue to have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of the U.S. economy. Although employment numbers dropped in 2008–2009, small businesses in the U.S. actually represented 81.4 percent of the net new private sector jobs in the period of 2005–2008.


Ciccone, Alicia. “How Small Businesses Stack Up in Top 20 States.” Huffington Post. 2/10/12. (2/10/12.)

U.S. Small Business Administration. “2011 Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories.” 1/2012. (1/2012.)

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