Small Business Job Creation Is Stronger Than We Think

Photograph by Matthew Staver/Landov

Here is a brief excerpt from an article written by Scott Shane and featured by Bloomberg Businessweek. To read the complete article, check out others, obtain subscription information, please click here.

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While small business job creation isn’t as strong as we’d like, it’s stronger than many people think. Since the recovery began, small and midsize companies have been producing more jobs than their larger counterparts and creating them at a faster pace than during the recovery from the 2001 recession. But because small business employment hasn’t yet caught up to where it was before the recession began, the perception that small employers aren’t hiring endures.

This matters more than you might think. Since big companies and small companies each account for about half of private sector employment, employment growth is usually strongest when both are creating jobs. Knowing which one is lagging the other helps Washington figure out what policies we need to boost employment growth.

Let’s look at the data. The ADP (ADP) Employment Report, a monthly analysis of employment at more than 300,000 private businesses using ADP payroll services, shows that companies with up to 49 workers employed 2.6 percent more people in March 2012 than they did in July 2009, when the economic recovery began. Similarly, businesses with 50 to 499 workers employed 3.2 percent more people last month than they did at the start of the recovery. Companies with 500 or more workers, however, employed 0.2 percent fewer people this March than in July 2009

The Intuit (INTU) Small Business Employment Index, a monthly reporting of the number of people working at about 70,000 companies that have fewer than 20 employees and that make use of Intuit Online Payroll shows a similar pattern. The Intuit Index was up 4.7 percent from July 2009 to February 2012. By contrast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ measure of U.S. non-farm employment, which includes employment at larger businesses and in the public sector as well as at small businesses, increased by only 1.9 percent.

Job creation at small companies has also been pretty robust when compared with the previous recovery. In the 33 months since the current recovery began, small employers added 2.6 million jobs, a 2.9 percent increase in employment, ADP figures show. By contrast, in the first 33 months of the recovery from the 2001 recession, small employers added 1.8 million jobs, a 2.1 percent increase.

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To read the complete article, please click here.

Scott Shane is the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University.


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