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


DiNapoli: Small Business Growth in New York Outpaced National Average

March 19, 2019

Employment among New York’s small businesses has increased slightly faster than the national pace, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report, based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, examined the five-year trend from 2011 through 2016.

During that time frame, small business employment rose by 9.2 percent in New York while increasing 8.9 percent across the country. These companies provided more than 4.1 million jobs in the state in 2016, just over half of all private sector jobs in New York. Small businesses provided more than $212 billion in payroll, nearly 40 percent of the total private sector payroll in the state.

“Small businesses have a substantial financial impact in every region of the state and helped fuel New York’s recent job gains and economic growth,” said DiNapoli. “These businesses, however, face a variety of challenges in a continually changing marketplace and the competitive demands of a global economy. The success of small businesses is vital to the health of our communities and the economy.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration primarily defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees. Among the more than 465,000 businesses in New York in 2016, 99 percent were small businesses. Of those, almost two-thirds had fewer than five employees, with over 81 percent having fewer than ten employees.

DiNapoli’s report found:

  • The smallest firms in New York, those with four or fewer employees, provided nearly 488,000 jobs with total payroll of $23.3 billion.
  • Businesses with 20-49 employees contributed more than 809,000 jobs, almost one-fifth of all small business employment and 10 percent of all private sector employment. These firms had total payroll of over $39 billion in 2016. 
  • Small businesses with over 200 employees had the second highest level of employment (693,000 jobs), but the highest total payroll ($43 billion).
  • Three industry sectors account for almost half of all small businesses in New York – trade, professional services and leisure activities. With almost 87,000 firms, the trade sector, which includes both retail and wholesale establishments, had the largest share, nearly 19 percent of all small businesses in New York.
  • The leisure activities sector, which includes restaurants and theaters, had the highest employment level of all sectors, with more than 677,000 jobs or 16.5 percent of the total.

To read the full report, go to:

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