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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

DiNapoli: Small Businesses Generate $950 Billion in New York

March 8, 2016

Small businesses are a vital part of New York state’s economy, supporting nearly 3.9 million jobs and generating more than $950 billion in annual revenues, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Small businesses help drive New York’s economy,” DiNapoli said. “From neighborhood coffee shops to start-up tech firms, small businesses account for more than half of all private-sector employment and provide almost $190 billion in annual payrolls. These businesses are critical to New York’s economy and integral to the fabric of life in the Empire State.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) commonly defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees. Such businesses account for more than 99 percent of all businesses both nationally and in New York.

New York’s small businesses generated $954 billion in receipts in 2012, the latest figures available, accounting for approximately 43 percent of all business receipts in New York, according to DiNapoli’s report.

Among the more than 455,000 businesses in New York, more than 451,000 are small businesses. Almost two-thirds of small businesses have fewer than five employees. More than 80 percent have fewer than ten employees.

Firms with 20 to 99 employees comprised approximately one-third of the total small business employment with over 1.2 million employees. The larger firms (those with 100 to 499 employees) had the highest average payroll per employee, nearly $56,000 per year.

Over the past decade, New York’s small businesses generally fared better than the nation’s as a whole. Small business employment in the state rose by a net 1.6 percent, or 59,000 jobs, in the 10-year period through 2013, while declining nationally by 1.1 percent. During this same 10-year period, the number of small businesses remained unchanged nationally but rose 5 percent in New York. Total payroll amounts at small businesses rose 29.7 percent in New York, about 2 percentage points better than the national average.

Four sectors dominate New York’s small-business economy, each providing more than half a million jobs: wholesale and retail trade; professional services; leisure activities; and health services.

The small businesses sector generating the highest overall payroll in New York is financial activities. Just over 44,000 firms in this sector, with nearly 279,000 jobs, provided total payroll of almost $31 billion in 2013.

Small businesses constitute the majority of the businesses in every region of the state, comprising at least 90 percent of total businesses in each region. New York City, having the largest share of the state’s population and economic activity, also has the most and highest concentration of small businesses.

In every region, businesses with fewer than 20 employees made up more than three-quarters of all firms.

Investment in Small Business

DiNapoli’s office invests in New York’s small businesses through a variety of programs. Through its In-State Private Equity Program, the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund) has committed $1.3 billion to private equity investment in New York as of Dec. 31, 2015. Some $844 million has been invested in 322 companies, putting public pension fund dollars to work in startup, emerging and established businesses in every region of the state.

In November 2015 DiNapoli announced the creation of the $200 million New York Credit Small Business Investment Company Fund to provide credit financing to eligible companies and deliver attractive returns to the state pension fund. The fund will provide capital to businesses that are implementing growth strategies, expanding operations or transitioning ownership.

The Fund’s lending partnership with the New York Business Development Corp. (NYBDC) provides capital for small business loans throughout the state. As of March 31, 2015, the Fund had made 1,082 loans through NYBDC totaling $362 million to companies providing a total of more than 22,000 jobs.

For more information, read the report “The Economic Impact of Small Business in New York State,” or by go to: