State Profiles

ByOffice of Advocacy

Small Business Profiles Offer Valuable Insight into States’ Economies in 2015

Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories

The Office of Advocacy released a new report, Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories, an annual snapshot of state-level small business activity which includes information on the number of firms, employment, demographics and other topics using the most recently available government data. Read More

ByOffice of Advocacy

Small Business Profiles for 2013 Released

The Office of Advocacy released its annual report entitled Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories. In a new and improved format, the profiles feature information on small business employment, industry composition, small business borrowing, exporting, and survival rates, as well as business owner demographics. Read More

ByOffice of Advocacy

Advocacy Publishes State Small Business Profiles for 2012

US map puzzle

How are small businesses doing in your state? The Office of Advocacy has just published the Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories, to help answer this question. Read More

ByOffice of Advocacy

Good News in the Profiles: States Show Private Sector Job Gains Beginning in 2010

Once again, Advocacy’s state Small Business Profiles tell a story about where we have been going over the past couple of years. The news about employment change going forward is positive: the United States as a whole and nearly all of the states are beginning to show net private sector job gains rather than losses, as had occurred almost universally in 2009. Even states where employment change in 2010 remained negative were far closer to positive territory  than in the previous difficult year.

Table 2 of the U.S. profile, combined with a look at Table A.10 on pp. 126-127 of The Small Business Economy, 2010, shows that 2008-2009 was the first period since 1990-1991 in which job creation in small firms (those with fewer than 500 employees) was not considerably better compared with large firms (500 or employees). That 1991-2008 period represents a 17-year track record of significant outperformance by the smalls in the net job race. But in 2008-2009, according to the Census Bureau (Table 2 of the state profiles), small businesses lost 3.28 million jobs on net, compared with a net loss of almost as many, 3.10 million, in large businesses. It was a bad year for everyone.

The good news in the data, if you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers in this year’s U.S. profile, Table 3, is that the trend has shifted to positive gains of 1.13 million net new jobs in 2010, compared with the negative number from last year’s U.S. profile of 5.5 million jobs lost in 2009. Moreover, according to Advocacy’s third quarter 2011 bulletin, more than half of the 1.13 million new jobs were from small firms—as were more than 80 percent of the net new jobs in the first quarter of 2011. Note that these numbers in Table 3 of the profiles are based on different data than the Census numbers, so the exact figures will vary somewhat from one source to the other. But the trend is the same, which is good news for the economy and small business.

You can check this out for yourself state by state. Go to the right four columns in Table 3 in any state and add the job gains as a result of business openings and expansions; then subtract the job losses from business closings and contractions. I looked at a random sample of the states and found that only three of the 19 I examined showed negative employment change for 2010. All three had far fewer net job losses than in 2009 (see last year’s profiles). Coming out of the recession, they had a long way to go, but even those three are well on the way toward net positive job gains if the current trends continue.

Kathryn Tobias, Senior Editor

ByOffice of Advocacy

A Gold Mine for State Data Diggers

This week the Office of Advocacy released its 2009 edition of small business profiles. On the website at, 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

ByOffice of Advocacy

Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories


            The most recent Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories—published in January 2009 captures the economic activity and condition of small businesses of each state including the U.S. Territories.


            Differences among the states reinforce the “regional” nature of the U.S. and the possible perils of assuming national trends apply to our neighborhoods.


            Some bits of information from this edition include:


            Small businesses employ 44% of the workforce in Florida (the low end of the range), and they employ 69.8% of Montana’s workforce (the high end). Louisiana had the highest increase in non-employer firms during 2005-2006, while Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Alaska and Kansas were states with declines during this time period.


            The unemployment rate in Hawaii was the lowest at 2.6 percent–well below the national average of 4.6 percent; meanwhile Michigan had the highest rate 7.2 percent. Hawaii recorded over 100 percent increase in business bankruptcy while Oregon and Wyoming had a decrease.


            The value of this annual publication is the state level information that it provides about small businesses on the number of firms, demographics of business ownership, small business income, banking, business turnover, industry composition, employment gains and losses.


            Detailed historical data may be found in the Small Business Economic Indicators and the Small Business Economy reports.



— Victoria Williams, Economist