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Infographic: Visualizing America's Small Businesses

Infographic: Visualizing America's Small Businesses
The vast majority of American businesses have only a few employees / Credit: Small business image via Shutterstock

While big businesses may get all the attention in Washington, it's small businesses that are making an impact throughout the rest of the country.

Data from the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that of the 5.73 million businesses in the United States, more than 98 percent, 5.635 million, have fewer than 100 employees. That's compared with just over 99,000 businesses that have more than 100 employees.

"The small-business sector is a vital to the U.S. economy because it creates two-thirds of new jobs and produces half of GDP," said Cynthia Magnuson, a spokesperson for the National Federation of Independent Business. "Typically, the small-business sector leads the nation out of recession and into recovery."

Rhett Buttle, vice president of the Small Business Majority, said local towns and cities are where small businesses really make their mark.

"Small businesses tend to be more focused on their communities," Buttle told BusinessNewsDaily. "The money spent in small businesses is seven to eight times more likely to stay in their local communities."

Magnuson believes small businesses are so prevalent in the United States because owning a business represents the American dream.

"Americans are an innovative and entrepreneurial people who like taking risks and many relish the opportunity to work for themselves and to create an enterprise that benefits the community around them," Magnuson said.

Despite being the overwhelming majority, Buttle said big businesses are the ones whose voices tend to be loudest in Washington, D.C., and why many small business owners feel the government isn't always giving them a fair chance at success.

Buttle said the needs of small businesses and big businesses are very different, which oftentimes makes lawmakers choose a path that is best suited for one over the other.

"They don't have the same representation in Washington," Buttle said of small businesses.

Magnuson agrees that the current political environment is making it difficult on small businesses.

"It is also hugely challenging to run a business in the current economic and political climate that discourages growth and new hiring," she said.

Despite what happens in Congress, Buttle said small businesses have the support of the American people. He points to yearly rankings, which show small businesses are an institution U.S. residents consistently trust most.

"It is because of the critical role they plan in the economy and in their local community," he said.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.