How Many People Are Employed by Small Business?

Posted: Oct 05, 2011 12:01 AM

How many people are employed by small business in the United States? Or for that matter, how many people are employed at big businesses in the U.S.?

These are seemingly simple questions, but the answers to them hinge on just what the criteria is for deciding what makes a small business and what makes a big business.

Is it annual revenue? Profits? The size of the real estate the business occupies? The number of employees? Just what is it that makes a small business small and a big business big?

The U.S. Small Business Administration doesn't make it any easier, as they only narrow down the range of possibilities to the business' average annual receipts (revenue) or its average annual employment. And then, being the government, if you have any questions, they will direct you to a "Size Specialist" at your nearest SBA Government Contracting Area Office or the Office of Size Standards.

The SBA considers 500 employees to be the dividing line between small business and big business, but really, it varies by industry - it can be 500, 750, or even 1000 depending upon what business we're talking about.

We here at Political Calculations believe in keeping it simple. We extracted the SBA's data for the number of employees at U.S. businesses, which range in size from 0 to those businesses that employ 5,000 or more, and built a tool to estimate the total number of Americans who work at the businesses who employ the number range you indicate.

Better yet, with our tool, you can estimate how many Americans work at businesses at size ranges other than the official cookie-cutter lists the SBA publishes! Our results will typically be within 2% of those figures and will often be within a half percent of the actual data.

You can find our tool here.

But really, that still doesn't answer the questions of how many people work for small businesses, and how many people work for big businesses. It's still ultimately up to you to decide where small business ends and big business begins!

John Ransom | Create Your Badge

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