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U.S. Jobs Recovery Depends on Small Business, Which Remains Under Great Threat, According to IHS Markit

Small businesses collectively account for a significant share of U.S. employment with representation in every state and participants in every major industry


The U.S. economic recovery will be inextricably tied to the recovery of the small-business sector, according to a new report from IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions. Given its substantial footprint in the U.S. economy, any recovery the U.S. economy would benefit from a robust recovery of the small-business sector.

“How many small businesses will be able to reopen and regain their footing will be key to an economic rebound, due to the critical role small businesses play in terms of jobs and driving economic growth,” said Ben Herzon, senior economist, IHS Markit. “However, small businesses face a more challenging future than large companies, because they don’t tend to have cash reserves or access to credit to make their way through the storm.”

The importance of small businesses is clear in terms of jobs, according to the new report Small Business and Economic Recovery. In 2019, there were 10 million establishments with under 50 employees, the measure IHS Markit used to define small business, accounting for 44 percent of total private sector employment. Small businesses played a key role in the long economic expansion between 2009 and 2019 when 1.1 million new small businesses were established.

“Total private employment during the last economic expansion rose by 20.4 million, with employment among small businesses accounting for eight million new jobs – close to 40 percent of that total,” said Jim Diffley, senior economist, IHS Markit. “That businesses with less than 50 employees, averaging six employees each accounted for such a large share of total growth in jobs is a testament to the dynamism of small business in America and why its role in recovery will be so significant.”

“The important role of small business has been one of the hallmarks of the American economy, and the restoration of that sector will do much to determine the pace and strength of the U.S. recovery,” Diffley added. The IHS Markit study found that small business played a significant role across every major sector of the U.S. economy. Small business accounts for over 60 percent of employment in services, real estate, food services, and construction.

The role of small business will be one of the focuses in IHS Markit’s on-going analysis of the dynamics of economic recovery in the United States and around the world.

About IHS Markit (
IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The London headquartered company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions.

IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2020 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.

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