Economic recovery depends on health of small companies

America’s economic recovery lies in the middle market
Posted by: Thomas Bonney

The economic healing power of small businesses is clear. According to the Small Business Administration, more than 6.7 million of the 27.2 million existing businesses in 2007 were small businesses with less than 500 paid employees. Just one hire by each of these firms would more than replenish the 6.46 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007 through June 2009.

Smaller companies continue to forge the strongest track record of job protection. The Labor Department’s Quarterly Business Employment data for Q4 2008 shows that, relative to the size of private sector employment, job losses at large companies were approximately one-third larger than losses in the middle market. Mid-sized companies with 999 employees or less accounted for 10.9% of job losses, while larger companies with 1000+ employees were responsible for 20.7% of job losses.

Middle market American leadership teams generally are innovators. The innovation we see on the ground is qualitative and anecdotal, but indicates a growing desire on the part of a subset of the middle market to begin to play some offense. This is not the sort of data that quickly moves through the labyrinth of channels used to generate state and federal government data that drives Wall Street and dominates media outlets; we expect that our qualitative observations will be validated in quantitative data by Q1 2010.

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