U.S. Businesses Show First Rise in Employment Since 2008

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2013 - In 2011, total employment from all U.S. business sectors was 113.4 million, an increase of 1.5 million employees from 2010, according to new statistics released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector led the way with a 12.0 percent increase in employment from 2010 to 2011. This year is the first since 2008 in which U.S. businesses reported an increase in employment over the prior year.

There were 7.4 million U.S. businesses with paid employees for 2011, a loss of 42,585 establishments from 2010. This is the fourth consecutive year of decline for the number of U.S. businesses.

These new findings released today are from County Business Patterns: 2011, which provides the only detailed annual information on the number of establishments, employees, and quarterly and annual payroll for nearly 1,200 industries covered at the national, state and county levels. The statistics are broken down according to employment-size classes (for example, number of establishments with one to four employees) and legal form of organization (for example, corporations and partnerships).

"The strength of this release is that we can measure the economic activity of businesses at the local level, including changes over time," said William Bostic, the Census Bureau's associate director for economic programs. "This year's County Business Patterns report is the first since the most recent recession to show a reversal in the downward trend of employment. The growth in employment combined with the increase in annual payroll is another indication of a recovering economy."

State and County Highlights

North Dakota showed the largest percentage rise in the number of establishments, total number of employees and total payroll for any state in 2011. There were 22,370 establishments in North Dakota in 2011, an increase of 538 (2.5 percent) from 2010. There were 306,064 employees in North Dakota in 2011, an increase of 11,157 (3.8 percent) from 2010. Annual payroll was at $12.3 billion, up $1.7 billion (16.5 percent) from 2010.

Among the top 50 counties in the United States ranked by number of establishments, Kings County, N.Y. (Brooklyn) had the largest percent increase in establishments and employment, with a gain of 1,625 establishments (3.4 percent) to 49,837 establishments, and a gain of 24,368 employees (5.0 percent) to 513,746 employees for 2011.

Industry Sector Highlights

Other industry sectors that had an increase in employment included administrative and support and waste management and remediation services (4.6 percent), educational services (3.4 percent), management of companies and enterprises (3.1 percent), and transportation and warehousing (2.4 percent).

Health care and social assistance added the most establishments, with 5,866 in 2011 (up 0.7 percent). Construction showed the largest decline in establishments, losing 24,946 establishments (3.7 percent) in 2011, down to 657,738 overall.

The retail trade sector had the highest number of establishments (1.1 million). Next were professional, scientific and technical services (850,903); health care and social assistance (818,726); other services (except public administration) (722,398); construction (657,738); and accommodation and food services (649,011).

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