As more and more small businesses in the US are established, the number of small business employees has naturally also increased.

In 2021, the number of employees in a small business in the US hit 61.2 million. This means that small business employees make up 46.8 percent of the total number of US employees.

Even though this marks a 0.99 percent increase from 2020’s 60.6 million, it’s one of the slowest increases over the past few years. In comparison, the growth rates for 2020 and 2019 were 1.17 percent and 1.70 percent respectively.

From 2017 to 2021, the US economy added 3.3 million small business employees to its workforce—a 5.7 percent increase over the entire period. 

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How Many Employees Does a Small Business Have

According to the US Small Business Administration, “small businesses” are defined as companies that hire fewer than 500 employees.

Of the 61.2 million small business employees, around two-thirds work in businesses with 99 or fewer employees. The remaining are employed by small businesses with between 100 and 499 workers. 

Number of Employees in a Small Business by State

As the US’s most populous state with nearly 40 million residents, it should come as no surprise that the West Coast state of California is also home to the biggest number of small business employees.

There are 7.3 million of them in California, which is 48.2 percent of the state’s total number of employees. Incidentally, the two biggest shipping ports in the US are also located in California.

The state with the second-highest number of employees in a small business is Texas. At 4.9 million, they represent 45.1 percent of the state’s total number of employees.

New York has the third most small business employees with 4.1 million while Florida comes in fourth with 3.6 million. Illinois and Pennsylvania are in joint fifth place with 2.5 million each.

At the bottom of the list, Wyoming is the state with the fewest small business employees. 

Here are the five states with the fewest employees in a small business:

  1. Wyoming: 130,605
  2. Alaska: 136,455
  3. Vermont: 158,228
  4. Delaware: 190,042
  5. North Dakota: 196,368

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