Monday, November 06, 2006

Small Business Statistics

We've mentioned this before (in June 2005, to be precise), but it bears repeating:

If your local media/legislator/campus office contacts you for some immediate data regarding the state of small business, then here are some sites you can visit to get that information:

SBA's Office of Advocacy is the primary resource regarding studies of national & state small business trends. On their home page, note a menu on the left-hand side titled "Research & Statistics". A number of links appear beneath that heading, including "State Economic Profiles" (which provides small business data for New York & other states for the individual years 2002-2006, inclusive).

Other choices on this menu include "Data on Small Business" and "Owner Demographics," both of which lead to pages that cite reports written by Advocacy over the last several years on a wide variety of topics (including women in business, the availability of financing to small firms, births & deaths of small businesses [a popular choice], etc.).

In addition to these, we're often asked to provide historic trends for an industry for a local area. The Census Bureau collects & reports data in its Business Patterns series (the most popular of which is "County Business Patterns," which also has the most data). You can learn the number of small businesses (defined roughly as those with fewer than 500 employees) within a specific NAICS code for one or more counties for individual years 1998 through 2004, inclusive. It takes a bit of back-and-forth, but you can (for example) determine whether the number of small agricultural businesses in Chautauqua County have been on the rise since '98, or not.

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