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For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 27, 2019

Nonemployer Businesses Increased in 2017


JUNE 27, 2019 — The number of nonemployer businesses — establishments without paid employees — grew 3.6% from 24,813,048 to 25,701,671 in 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released today. Receipts for these businesses increased 5.6%, adding more than $65.7 billion from 2016 to 2017.

The Transportation and Warehousing sector (North American Industry Classification System [NAICS Sector 48-49]) saw the largest nonemployer establishment growth, increasing by 18.3% and adding 340,658 nonemployer establishments in 2017. This sector also had one of the largest growth rates in receipts, increasing 14.4% from $87.0 billion in 2016 to $99.5 billion in 2017.

The Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation subsector (NAICS 485) led the growth with an increase of 230,572 nonemployer establishments (26.5%). Examples of the Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation subsector include rideshares, taxi and limousine services, chartered bus, school bus and special needs transportation. Of the industry groups (four-digit NAICS) that comprise the Transit and Ground Transportation subsector, Taxi and Limousine Services (NAICS 4853), including rideshares, grew by the most number of establishments.  

The top three states by nonemployer establishment percent growth belong to Florida (9.3%), Texas (6.5%) and Massachusetts (5.7%). Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses (NAICS 4541) in Massachusetts added 4,100 nonemployer establishments (155.4%) in 2017.

Among the 50 counties with the most nonemployer establishments, six counties in Florida had the largest percentage increases: Orange County, Miami-Dade County, Hillsborough County, Broward County, Palm Beach County and Pinellas County (in no particular order).

These data are all part of Nonemployer Statistics: 2017, which provides statistics on businesses in over 450 industries at varying levels of geography, including national, state, county, metropolitan statistical area and combined statistical area. The data are also presented by Legal Form of Organization, and by Receipt Size Class. The Nonemployer Statistics: 2017 is the Census Bureau’s first release on the new dissemination platform — data.census.gov.

A nonemployer business is defined as one that has no paid employees, has annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction industries), and is subject to federal income taxes. Most nonemployers are self-employed individuals operating very small unincorporated businesses, which may or may not be the owner’s principal source of income. Nonemployer statistics originate from Internal Revenue Service tax return information. The data are subject to nonsampling error, such as errors of self-classification by industry on tax forms, as well as errors of nonreporting and coverage. Receipts totals are slightly modified to protect confidentiality. All dollar values are expressed in current dollars, i.e., they are not adjusted for price changes. Further information about methodology and data limitations is available at <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/nonemployer-statistics/technical-documentation/methodology.html>.

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Frances Alonzo
Public Information Office

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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