A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Will Work for Small(ish) Businesses


In his remarks to small-business owners March 16 at the White House, President Obama repeated a statistic we’ve heard from both Democrats and Republicans. (Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

used it this month

on "Fox News Sunday.")

Obama said small businesses are responsible for creating "roughly 70 percent of all new jobs in the past decade."

That stat is one put forth by the Small Business Administration. The SBA says that small businesses "have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade." It’s worth pointing out that the definition of "small business" might surprise some. A "small business," according to the SBA is any independent business with fewer than 500 employees, and in 2007, 99.9 percent of all businesses fell into that category. (The SBA also uses the figure 99.7 percent on its site.) Jobs come from other entities, like governments or nonprofit organizations, but perhaps it’s not that noteworthy to say that nearly 100 percent of all businesses in the country have created "70 percent of all new jobs."