Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Firm size and employment growth, 1992–2016

May 04, 2017

During the 3 months that ended September 2016, there was a net increase of 681,000 private sector jobs in the United States. Small firms (those with 99 or fewer employees) were responsible for 155,000, or 23 percent of the net increase, while firms with 100 or more employees increased their employment by 526,000, accounting for the remaining 77 percent. 

 

Net employment change by firm size, private sector, 3Q 1992–3Q 2016
Quarter Firm size (number of employees)
Total, all firm sizes 1 to 4 5 to 9 10 to 19 20 to 49 50 to 99 100 to 249 250 to 499 500 to 999 1,000 or more

Sep 1992

694,000 66,000 41,000 64,000 111,000 80,000 74,000 43,000 26,000 189,000

Dec 1992

193,000 11,000 37,000 36,000 53,000 44,000 51,000 27,000 25,000 -91,000

Mar 1993

340,000 50,000 0 6,000 21,000 33,000 63,000 42,000 42,000 83,000

Jun 1993

677,000 65,000 50,000 48,000 62,000 45,000 61,000 56,000 66,000 224,000

Sep 1993

1,045,000 115,000 77,000 100,000 147,000 113,000 134,000 83,000 48,000 228,000

Dec 1993

627,000 33,000 67,000 81,000 126,000 95,000 102,000 61,000 59,000 3,000

Mar 1994

586,000 34,000 16,000 37,000 59,000 57,000 79,000 64,000 54,000 186,000

Jun 1994

851,000 63,000 42,000 44,000 75,000 60,000 88,000 80,000 60,000 339,000

Sep 1994

1,372,000 125,000 100,000 130,000 196,000 137,000 156,000 93,000 84,000 351,000

Dec 1994

482,000 -14,000 29,000 55,000 92,000 83,000 106,000 61,000 57,000 13,000

Mar 1995

832,000 76,000 40,000 57,000 95,000 82,000 91,000 58,000 52,000 281,000

Jun 1995

305,000 44,000 15,000 10,000 6,000 9,000 27,000 22,000 28,000 144,000

Sep 1995

945,000 25,000 39,000 67,000 129,000 96,000 115,000 69,000 82,000 323,000

Dec 1995

366,000 11,000 40,000 51,000 90,000 74,000 89,000 56,000 27,000 -72,000

Mar 1996

623,000 54,000 26,000 43,000 70,000 49,000 55,000 25,000 7,000 294,000

Jun 1996

599,000 60,000 28,000 19,000 7,000 10,000 17,000 53,000 52,000 353,000

Sep 1996

760,000 74,000 44,000 63,000 102,000 72,000 109,000 57,000 52,000 187,000

Dec 1996

810,000 22,000 55,000 80,000 123,000 101,000 124,000 69,000 65,000 171,000

Mar 1997

948,000 89,000 55,000 72,000 110,000 76,000 76,000 63,000 23,000 384,000

Jun 1997

572,000 40,000 21,000 15,000 9,000 25,000 57,000 53,000 40,000 312,000

Sep 1997

1,007,000 20,000 36,000 67,000 127,000 102,000 141,000 65,000 67,000 382,000

Dec 1997

660,000 -8,000 32,000 56,000 93,000 75,000 92,000 75,000 66,000 179,000

Mar 1998

991,000 56,000 18,000 28,000 42,000 51,000 82,000 75,000 80,000 559,000

Jun 1998

574,000 124,000 61,000 51,000 39,000 14,000 25,000 8,000 14,000 238,000

Sep 1998

849,000 14,000 11,000 34,000 67,000 59,000 91,000 64,000 55,000 454,000

Dec 1998

698,000 11,000 54,000 78,000 135,000 97,000 100,000 64,000 44,000 115,000

Mar 1999

580,000 67,000 32,000 22,000 23,000 25,000 16,000 6,000 17,000 372,000

Jun 1999

569,000 15,000 17,000 24,000 42,000 32,000 57,000 41,000 43,000 298,000

Sep 1999

659,000 9,000 27,000 54,000 95,000 71,000 88,000 54,000 44,000 217,000

Dec 1999

986,000 38,000 74,000 106,000 149,000 105,000 133,000 83,000 83,000 215,000

Mar 2000

960,000 89,000 61,000 64,000 89,000 79,000 104,000 88,000 70,000 316,000

Jun 2000

405,000 14,000 -5,000 -3,000 6,000 21,000 38,000 31,000 45,000 258,000

Sep 2000

385,000 1,000 9,000 23,000 53,000 50,000 68,000 30,000 28,000 123,000

Dec 2000

273,000 -7,000 4,000 18,000 41,000 27,000 45,000 20,000 14,000 111,000

Mar 2001

99,000 15,000 6,000 7,000 -13,000 -35,000 -65,000 -53,000 -27,000 264,000

Jun 2001

-889,000 8,000 -16,000 -47,000 -94,000 -85,000 -115,000 -95,000 -85,000 -360,000

Sep 2001

-1,138,000 -62,000 -48,000 -54,000 -93,000 -98,000 -126,000 -108,000 -110,000 -439,000

Dec 2001

-1,037,000 6,000 -10,000 -24,000 -66,000 -79,000 -111,000 -90,000 -82,000 -581,000

Mar 2002

113,000 33,000 18,000 7,000 -12,000 -27,000 -36,000 -9,000 -23,000 162,000

Jun 2002

-107,000 53,000 11,000 -6,000 -18,000 -6,000 -20,000 -20,000 -19,000 -82,000

Sep 2002

-103,000 30,000 8,000 2,000 -9,000 -10,000 -12,000 -9,000 -7,000 -96,000

Dec 2002

-243,000 19,000 10,000 2,000 -11,000 -26,000 -34,000 -26,000 -15,000 -162,000

Mar 2003

-278,000 -3,000 -26,000 -39,000 -70,000 -35,000 -30,000 -22,000 -25,000 -28,000

Jun 2003

-171,000 45,000 25,000 13,000 6,000 -13,000 -29,000 -24,000 -33,000 -161,000

Sep 2003

244,000 38,000 26,000 29,000 34,000 15,000 27,000 11,000 4,000 60,000

Dec 2003

320,000 48,000 28,000 43,000 49,000 24,000 20,000 23,000 12,000 73,000

Mar 2004

466,000 49,000 24,000 27,000 49,000 54,000 76,000 41,000 29,000 117,000

Jun 2004

566,000 38,000 17,000 29,000 60,000 60,000 60,000 33,000 44,000 225,000

Sep 2004

259,000 19,000 16,000 21,000 40,000 43,000 71,000 43,000 12,000 -6,000

Dec 2004

759,000 90,000 54,000 64,000 88,000 47,000 66,000 39,000 48,000 263,000

Mar 2005

416,000 16,000 2,000 13,000 27,000 34,000 56,000 47,000 21,000 200,000

Jun 2005

518,000 66,000 30,000 46,000 75,000 62,000 64,000 46,000 45,000 84,000

Sep 2005

767,000 64,000 44,000 49,000 71,000 45,000 65,000 59,000 60,000 310,000

Dec 2005

513,000 80,000 30,000 39,000 46,000 28,000 27,000 21,000 8,000 234,000

Mar 2006

782,000 63,000 51,000 73,000 125,000 94,000 117,000 75,000 64,000 120,000

Jun 2006

369,000 25,000 11,000 20,000 55,000 41,000 61,000 47,000 43,000 66,000

Sep 2006

86,000 -13,000 -4,000 1,000 11,000 25,000 23,000 23,000 14,000 6,000

Dec 2006

446,000 52,000 16,000 25,000 44,000 34,000 46,000 5,000 23,000 201,000

Mar 2007

478,000 27,000 34,000 49,000 63,000 41,000 57,000 34,000 41,000 132,000

Jun 2007

163,000 -39,000 -20,000 -1,000 27,000 37,000 62,000 46,000 30,000 21,000

Sep 2007

-215,000 -19,000 -25,000 -36,000 -36,000 -13,000 -21,000 -7,000 -3,000 -55,000

Dec 2007

270,000 10,000 -10,000 -1,000 11,000 15,000 41,000 28,000 17,000 159,000

Mar 2008

-274,000 -70,000 -34,000 -23,000 -25,000 -11,000 0 1,000 -5,000 -107,000

Jun 2008

-548,000 -105,000 -62,000 -59,000 -61,000 -28,000 -16,000 -18,000 -23,000 -176,000

Sep 2008

-956,000 -94,000 -67,000 -74,000 -108,000 -60,000 -80,000 -44,000 -57,000 -372,000

Dec 2008

-1,886,000 -143,000 -141,000 -167,000 -238,000 -177,000 -198,000 -125,000 -111,000 -586,000

Mar 2009

-2,638,000 -230,000 -177,000 -220,000 -356,000 -284,000 -332,000 -214,000 -185,000 -640,000

Jun 2009

-1,763,000 -112,000 -93,000 -107,000 -162,000 -125,000 -156,000 -116,000 -131,000 -761,000

Sep 2009

-906,000 -131,000 -65,000 -72,000 -104,000 -51,000 -59,000 -53,000 -39,000 -332,000

Dec 2009

-317,000 -5,000 -42,000 -54,000 -58,000 -30,000 -15,000 -19,000 -19,000 -75,000

Mar 2010

-234,000 -87,000 -40,000 -34,000 -34,000 -4,000 2,000 18,000 11,000 -66,000

Jun 2010

664,000 30,000 28,000 58,000 119,000 87,000 117,000 69,000 55,000 101,000

Sep 2010

226,000 -8,000 3,000 8,000 23,000 40,000 47,000 41,000 37,000 35,000

Dec 2010

502,000 54,000 11,000 5,000 22,000 28,000 64,000 48,000 40,000 230,000

Mar 2011

340,000 -13,000 15,000 36,000 61,000 57,000 65,000 47,000 29,000 43,000

Jun 2011

537,000 -2,000 35,000 59,000 98,000 73,000 96,000 53,000 32,000 93,000

Sep 2011

852,000 77,000 55,000 54,000 86,000 75,000 96,000 67,000 77,000 265,000

Dec 2011

297,000 29,000 0 1,000 15,000 16,000 28,000 28,000 19,000 161,000

Mar 2012

975,000 66,000 82,000 106,000 143,000 102,000 119,000 78,000 65,000 214,000

Jun 2012

605,000 15,000 19,000 48,000 88,000 72,000 88,000 71,000 60,000 144,000

Sep 2012

245,000 16,000 14,000 12,000 15,000 25,000 30,000 28,000 37,000 68,000

Dec 2012

623,000 76,000 25,000 28,000 45,000 35,000 55,000 48,000 29,000 282,000

Mar 2013

593,000 11,000 47,000 72,000 100,000 69,000 87,000 54,000 67,000 86,000

Jun 2013

642,000 29,000 37,000 59,000 94,000 60,000 78,000 48,000 40,000 197,000

Sep 2013

458,000 68,000 51,000 46,000 45,000 25,000 37,000 21,000 33,000 132,000

Dec 2013

632,000 45,000 7,000 26,000 48,000 41,000 59,000 48,000 41,000 317,000

Mar 2014

469,000 33,000 58,000 74,000 95,000 69,000 85,000 57,000 48,000 -50,000

Jun 2014

878,000 27,000 48,000 81,000 137,000 97,000 121,000 62,000 60,000 245,000

Sep 2014

516,000 49,000 32,000 37,000 50,000 42,000 60,000 39,000 32,000 175,000

Dec 2014

969,000 54,000 29,000 56,000 79,000 63,000 88,000 76,000 60,000 464,000

Mar 2015

244,000 40,000 42,000 49,000 60,000 32,000 49,000 22,000 24,000 -74,000

Jun 2015

823,000 43,000 52,000 84,000 133,000 88,000 103,000 73,000 47,000 200,000

Sep 2015

397,000 35,000 26,000 25,000 28,000 25,000 33,000 21,000 34,000 170,000

Dec 2015

882,000 83,000 33,000 55,000 76,000 42,000 56,000 54,000 48,000 435,000

Mar 2016

224,000 23,000 43,000 51,000 58,000 27,000 30,000 15,000 5,000 -28,000

Jun 2016

302,000 -24,000 -5,000 30,000 71,000 57,000 59,000 32,000 17,000 65,000

Sep 2016

681,000 46,000 39,000 28,000 20,000 22,000 62,000 50,000 56,000 358,000

Between the third quarter of 1992 and the third quarter of 2016, small firms accounted for 41 percent of the net employment change. Firms with 100 or more employees were responsible for the remaining 59 percent of the employment change over this period.

Small firms experienced more net job losses than large firms did during the recession of the early 1990s. The opposite was true in the 2001 recession. During the recession that began in December 2007, firms of all sizes were similarly affected and neither small firms nor large firms had a clear majority of job losses.

Since the beginning of this data series, in 1992, small firms have shown significantly higher levels of both gross job gains and job losses than large firms. These high rates of gross job gains and losses are evidence of more turnover and volatility in small firms.

These data are from the Business Employment Dynamics program. In addition to firm size, data on job gains and job losses by age of firm are also available. For more information, see Research Data on Business Employment Dynamics by Age and Size. Also see Announcing new research data on job creation and destruction by firm age and size in the Commissioner's Corner blog.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Firm size and employment growth, 1992–2016 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/firm-size-and-employment-growth-1992-2016.htm (visited October 20, 2021).