Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Bloomberg Customers

Small Business

The Power of One

It should come as no surprise that small business is a major economic force in the U.S. But new figures released by the Commerce Dept.'s Census Bureau spell out the importance of the smallest of small businesses.

About 70% (or 15.4 million) of the nation's 21.8 million businesses in 1997 had no paid employees, according to the Census report. Nonemployers are mostly sole proprietorships (13.6 million), but also include corporations (946,000) and partnerships (860,000) that don't file payroll taxes. Those figures don't include all self-employed individuals, since more than 1 million self-employed business owners have paid employees and, therefore, are classified as employer businesses.

Nonemployer businesses recorded sales or receipts of $586 billion, which represents 3.3% of the $18 trillion in 1997's total business sales and receipts. California led the nation with the greatest number of nonemployer businesses. Alaska and Maine had the highest proportion of nonemployers, largely because of the high number of individual proprietors in those states' fishing industries. "These very small businesses are excluded from most other business statistics," says Census Bureau analyst Paul Zeisset, "yet they form an important part of many industries."

HIGH AND MITEY. Four economic sectors made up 58% of all nonemployer sales or receipts: real estate and rental and leasing, $102 billion; construction, $87 billion; professional, scientific, and technical services, $81 billion; and retail trade, $69 billion.

"America's self-employed are the leading edge of our entrepreneurial economy," says Ginny Beauchamp, vice-president of the National Association for the Self-Employed. "Although high-tech and Internet startups are in the news, the self-employed truly are butchers, bakers, candlestick-makers, as well as architects, accountants, and attorneys."

The complete report, 1997 Economic Census: Nonemployer Statistics, can be found on the Census Bureau Web site. By Robin J. Phillips in New York

blog comments powered by Disqus