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The U.S. Census Bureau released some depressing statistics today, indicating that Metro Louisville is losing some of its small businesses at a rate nearly twice the national average.  The number of nonemployer small businesses, those without paid employees, declined by more than 260,000 between 2008 and 2009 across the United States—a reduction of 1.2 percent—according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Real estate agents, attorneys, beauticians and construction contractors are some examples of nonemployer businesses.

Here in Metro Louisville (Jefferson County), we lost 1,681 nonemployer small businesses between 2008 and 2009; a reduction of 2 percent.  Since the beginning of the current national administration, Louisville has lost 4,429 of these businesses, representing a loss in business receipts of nearly one-half-billion dollars:

            Louisville’s nonemployer small businesses

            Year                 Number            Receipts

            2007                84,468             3,537,565,000

            2008                81,720             3,327,769,000

            2009                80,039             3,036,375,000

"Nonemployer firms generate a small percentage of total U.S. business receipts, but they constitute the majority of U.S. businesses," said William G. Bostic Jr., associate director for economic programs at the U.S. Census Bureau. "The decline we have seen since 2008 reflects the change in economic conditions during that time."

Closed.jpgAlthough the number of nonemployer businesses declined in most states from 2008 to 2009, these businesses grew in three states and the District of Columbia during this period. Texas added the most firms (8,260), followed by Georgia (3,336), Louisiana (1,871) and the District of Columbia (462).

These new figures released today are from Nonemployer Statistics: 2009, an annual report on businesses without paid employees that includes more than 450 separate industries (as classified by the North American Industry Classification System) and are provided at the national, state, county and metropolitan area levels. Nonemployer businesses have annual receipts of $1,000 or more (except the construction industry, which includes receipts of $1 or more) and are subject to federal income taxes. Most nonemployers are self-employed and operate businesses that may or may not be their primary source of income.

Overall, U.S. nonemployer businesses generated approximately $837.8 billion in receipts during 2009.  The 2009 Nonemployer Statistics data cover 21.1 million firms, which include 18.7 million sole proprietorships, 1.4 million corporations and 1.0 million partnerships. Nonemployer Statistics provide the only detailed information on the total number of nonemployer businesses and receipts earned down to the county level. Nonemployer Statistics excludes businesses with paid employees, which were covered in the 2009 County Business Patterns release on June 30, 2011.

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About Thomas McAdam

At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.

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