MERIC NEWS LETTER

Small Businesses Make Up Nearly 75 Percent of Missouri Businesses


Missouri reported 158,393 private businesses in 20041. Small businesses, those employing fewer than 10 employees, accounted for nearly 75 percent of Missouri businesses.

While small businesses make up the majority of establishments in Missouri, they do not account for the largest percentage of employees. Almost 30 percent of Missouri workers are employed by medium-sized businesses employing 10 to 49 workers. Businesses with more than 250 workers made up 26.2 percent of the state's total employment.

In Missouri's private sector, nearly 14 percent of businesses are in the Retail Trade industry. Other Services makes up 12.0 percent of the state's businesses, while 11.3 percent are in the Construction industry.  By employment, however, Retail Trade and Manufacturing each employ 14.1 percent of the state's workforce, with Health Care and Social Assistance and Accommodation and Food Services employing 13.3 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. The composition of businesses and employment vary across industries.

With employment in Missouri totaling more than 2.6 million at the end of 2004, the average number of workers at an establishment was 16.0.

Retail Trade
Small businesses make up the majority of Missouri's Retail Trade industry, with more than 69 percent of businesses employing 10 or fewer employees. Further, only 5.3 percent of Missouri's retail establishments employ more than 50 workers. However, retail employment in the state is more equally divided among the business sizes, ranging between 13.2 and 32.9 percent of employment in each business size category.

Manufacturing
While more than 55 percent of Missouri's manufacturing businesses employ fewer than 10 workers, these businesses only accounted for 4.8 percent of employment in the state. The largest size classes accounted for much more than the state average for large businesses, indicating manufacturing firms in Missouri tend to be disproportionately larger employers.

1There were 167,773 establishments in both the private and public sectors during calendar year 2004.                                                                     

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