A Gold Mine for State Data Diggers

This week the Office of Advocacy released its 2009 edition of small business profiles. On the website, you will find an array of two-page small business economic profiles for the nation, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Each is loaded with the most current available data on the demographics of business owners, the numbers of businesses, their employment by industry and size, business openings and closings, gross domestic and state product, and the employment picture.

As noted, there are statistics galore. But what’s the story?

Perusing a number of the individual state profiles, I began to notice a pattern in the 2008 data. It seemed that many of the states with the largest shares of small business employment—states like Wyoming and North Dakota, Alaska, and Oklahoma, with between 54 and nearly 70 percent of their employment in small businesses—were often also states with positive—or at least less negative—employment change in 2008. Conversely, states with the lowest employment in small firms—say, between 44 and 49 percent—often had larger overall statewide employment losses—between 1 and 4 percent—in 2008.

This suggested to me that there are some interesting patterns to be found in the data. Take a look at patterns across the years too—there are state profiles on the web going back to 2005.

Dig in, data miners!

—Kathryn Tobias
Senior Editor

  1. Dan Dubli says

    Interesting post here. I’m surprised to see Wyoming and North Dakota top the list.

  2. Jassica Marshal says

    hay there
    The reference yuo have mentioned in tis post are all related to the states of the US only.Is there any particular reason or background due to which only US states are considered ??

  3. Arun Agrawal says

    Small businesses generate very high levels of employment and contribute a good chunk to the IRS too.

    However sustaining these unorganized businesses for long periods is another ballgame.

  4. Ava White says

    This has proved to be a useful post for me, I had previously looked at that report but not in any detail. Many thanks


  5. Darren Crawford says

    It seems to indicate that small businesses, and self-employed were less affected by economic downturns.

    It is certainly difficult if you are the only one in the business to downsize yourself.

    I think this bodes well for SMB’s as the economy recovers.

  6. John Collins says

    Thanks for the information. It’s tough to see the number of businesses closing outnumber those that are opening – and my state’s unemployment percentage has nearly doubled since 2007.

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