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Census Bureau Reports Nation Has Nearly 350,000 Fewer Nonemployer Business Locations

Wayne County, Mich., is Top County in Percent Increase

     All but two states — Texas and Louisiana, plus the District of Columbia — saw a decline in the number of nonemployer businesses between 2007 and 2008. The nation had 21.4 million nonemployer firms in 2008, a decrease of 350,000 from 2007 (1.6 percent), the U.S. Census Bureau announced today.

     Nonemployer businesses have no paid employees, have annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction industries) and are subject to federal income taxes. Among the 50 counties with the largest number of nonemployer establishments, Wayne County, Mich. — home to Detroit — led the nation with a 6.8 percent increase of nonemployer establishments between 2007 and 2008, followed by Harris County, Texas — home to Houston — with a 5.6 percent increase, and Miami-Dade County, Fla., with a 3 percent increase. (See Table 2 Excel | PDF).

    These figures are from Nonemployer Statistics: 2008, an annual report on businesses without paid employees classified in nearly 300 industries for the nation, states, counties and metropolitan areas.

     “Nonemployer businesses make up the majority of all U.S. businesses yet average less than 4 percent of all receipts. Many of these are self-employed individuals whose businesses may or may not be their primary source of income,” said C. Harvey Monk Jr., associate director for economic programs at the U.S. Census Bureau. “This is the only source available to get information on the number of establishments and receipts at the local level for these businesses and the industries they comprise.”

     Maine experienced the largest decline in establishments with a 4.2 percent decrease between 2007 and 2008, followed by Delaware with a 3.8 percent decrease and Nevada with a 3.7 percent decrease. (See Table 1 Excel | PDF).

     The nursing and residential care facilities industry reported an 8.9 percent increase in nonemployer businesses in 2008; this represented approximately 5,000 additional establishments nationwide. There were 60,322 nonemployer businesses in this industry in the U.S., which reported more than $2.1 billion in receipts, an average of more than $35,000 per location. Miami-Dade County, Fla. (3,434), Los Angeles County, Calif. (3,022), and Broward County, Fla. (1,500), had the most nonemployer nursing and residential care facilities.

     The offices of real estate agents and brokers industry reported a noticeable decrease in the number of nonemployer businesses in 2008 with 700,275 establishments reported, a decline of 11.4 percent from the previous year. Across the U.S., receipts decreased by $6.5 billion.

     Other highlights:

  • California (2.7 million), Texas (1.8 million) and Florida (1.6 million) had the most nonemployer businesses, making up nearly 29 percent of all nonemployers nationwide. Receipts of nonemployer firms in these same states totaled nearly $302 billion, which was 31 percent of all receipts from nonemployer businesses.
  • Nationally, some of the nonemployer industries that continued to grow in 2008 were hair, nail and skin care services (6.5 percent), educational services (4.4 percent) and full service restaurants (4.3 percent).
  • The furniture stores industry decreased in the number of nonemployer businesses in 2008 with 16,399 establishments reported, a decline of 8.1 percent from the previous year. Across the U.S., receipts for this industry decreased by $113 million. The receipts for North Carolina nonemployer furniture stores declined by about $4 million from the previous year, while the receipts for Arizona stores increased by more than $3 million from the previous year.

     This data set covers 18.8 million sole proprietorships, 1.5 million corporations and 1.1 million partnerships, which together comprise the total number of nonemployer businesses. Nonemployer Statistics excludes businesses with paid employees; these data are covered in County Business Patterns, which will be updated at the end of July 2010.

Nonemployer statistics originate from tax return information of the Internal Revenue Service. The data are subject to nonsampling error such as errors of self-classification by industry on tax forms, as well as errors of response, nonreporting and coverage. Values provided by each firm are slightly modified to protect the respondent's confidentiality. Further information about methodology and data limitations is available at <>.
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: September 09, 2014