Small-business dynamo powers Illinois
By Ray Marchiori
Regional advocate, Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small
Send a link to a friend
[NOV. 18, 2005]
CHICAGO -- They are
everywhere. Drive down almost any street in any city and town in
Illinois and you will see them: retailers and manufacturers,
wholesalers and contractors, one-person shops, and significant
employers. They are small businesses, and they are the dynamo that
powers Illinois' economy.
The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business
Administration recently released its latest Illinois Small Business
Profile, and what it shows may surprise some people, but others of
us have known it all along. Without its small-business owners,
Illinois' economy would not be nearly as strong as it is today.
The report shows that in 2004 an estimated 280,373, or 98.3 percent,
of the state's employer firms were small businesses. And that number
does not even include the thousands of non-employer one-person firms
scattered across the state. These businesses generated a sizable
amount of economic activity. In 2002, small firms -- those with
fewer than 500 employees -- employed 49.3 percent of the state's
nonfarm private sector employees. What is even more remarkable is
that from 2001 to 2002 -- the latest data available -- firms with
fewer than 20 employees saw net job gains of 29,605, while firms
with more than 500 employees actually lost jobs.
The diversity of small-business owners helps create integrated
communities that make the state stronger. The latest figures show
that in 2002, firms owned by women totaled 285,072, an increase of
19 percent from 1997, and they generated $47.2 billion in revenues.
Also, there were 39,553 Hispanic-owned firms, an increase of 28
percent from 1997; 68,708 black-owned firms, an increase of 67
percent; and 44,501 Asian-owned firms, an increase of 23 percent.
Clearly small business ownership is drawing more and more of the
state's residents into the economic mainstream.
Main Street is where the state's citizens go to work, so
policymakers should consider just how programs, rules and
regulations will affect the state's job -- creating small
According to research by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small
Business Administration, just complying with federal regulations
costs the nation's smallest firms $7,647 per employee each year.
That is 45 percent more than the per-employee costs of their larger
[to top of second column in this article]
The uneven burden of regulations on small business is not only a
problem at the federal level. Because state and local regulations
can also fall disproportionately on small businesses, the Office of
Advocacy is encouraging states to pass laws requiring their agencies
to consider the effects of regulations on small business.
To find out just how small-business-friendly the state's
regulatory process is and what policymakers can do to improve the
climate for small business and unleash the job-creating and
community-building power of entrepreneurship, visit
Small businesses are dynamic, creative, innovative, job-creating,
and they are powering the state's economy. Take a look around. There
they are, in every city and every town. They are providing jobs,
growth and economic opportunity for all of Illinois. So next time
you are in a store, shop or warehouse, along with your purchase you
just might want to say "thanks."
Ray Marchiori is the Office of Advocacy regional advocate for
Region V, covering Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and
Wisconsin. He is the direct link between small-business owners,
state and local government agencies, state legislators, small
business associations, and the Small Business Administration's
Office of Advocacy. Contact Marchiori at (312) 353-8614 or
by the U.S.
Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy
Click here to respond to the editor about this