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Census Bureau Reports Number of U.S. Businesses Declines by Nearly 104,000 in 2008

     U.S. businesses with paid employees lost almost 104,000 establishments in 2008, bringing the total number to 7.6 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the total number of people they employed rose to 121 million, with businesses adding approximately 300,000 employees to their payrolls.

    These findings come from County Business Patterns: 2008, which provides the only detailed annual information on the number of establishments, employees, and quarterly and annual payroll for most of the 1,100 industries covered at the national, state and county levels.

    Among states and the District of Columbia, Florida saw the largest percentage decrease in business locations, a 3.1 percent decline from 2007, representing more than 16,000 establishments. (See Table 1 Excel | PDF) Among Florida's largest counties, Broward accounted for nearly 2,000 losses, followed by Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, which lost 1,900 and 1,300 businesses, respectively. (See Table 2 Excel | PDF).

    “These statistics allow users to track annual trends in employer businesses down to the local level,” said William G. Bostic Jr., assistant director for Economic Programs at the U.S. Census Bureau. “Businesses can use this information to help analyze market potential and to develop their budgets. State and local governments may use the data for administration and planning.”

     Besides Florida, the states with the largest percentage decreases in establishments were Michigan (2.6 percent), Idaho (2.5 percent) and Ohio (2.4 percent). Only four states and the District of Columbia saw increases in establishments in 2008: Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Wyoming.

     Leading states and the District of Columbia with the highest percentage increases in employment from 2007 to 2008 were North Dakota (4.1 percent, adding 12,000 employees) and New Hampshire, (3.9 percent, adding 22,000 employees).

     Among the 50 largest counties, only nine saw increases in the number of establishments in 2008. Ten counties had declines of more than 1,000 establishments.

     Counties with the highest increases in payroll included Philadelphia, Pa., which rose 6.2 percent to an average of $48,993, and Multnomah, Ore., which rose 3.6 percent to an average of $43,952.

     At the national level, the health care and social assistance sector gained more than 6,700 establishments and nearly 420,000 employees in 2008 from the previous year. (See Table 3 Excel | PDF).

     The real estate and leasing sector lost nearly 14,500 establishments, a 3.8 percent decline from the previous year.

     County Business Patterns excludes those who were self-employed, employees of private households, railroad employees, agriculture production workers and most government employees. Information on businesses without paid employees was released earlier this year as part of the Nonemployer Statistics report. Data for metropolitan statistical areas and five-digit ZIP codes also will be released this year.

County Business Patterns defines employment as all full- and part-time employees who were on the payroll during the pay period that includes March 12. Data are obtained from Census Bureau reports and administrative records from other federal agencies. Quality assurance procedures are applied to all phases of collection, processing and tabulation to minimize errors. The data are subject to error from miscoding and estimation for missing or misreported data. Values associated with each establishment are slightly modified to protect the confidentiality of the location. 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