In 2010, U.S. businesses with paid employees numbered 7.4 million, a decline of 36,800 establishments from 2009, marking the third consecutive year of decline, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In comparison, between 2008 and 2009 there was a decline of 168,000 establishments.
These findings are from County Business Patterns: 2010, which provides the only detailed annual information on the number of establishments, employees and first-quarter and annual payroll for most of the 1,100 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).
In 2010, total employment from all sectors was 112.0 million, a decline of 2.5 million employees from 2009. In comparison, between 2008 and 2009 there was a decline of 6.4 million employees.
"This year’s release of the County Business Patterns shows the overall decline in employment is slowing," said William G. Bostic Jr., associate director for economic programs at the Census Bureau. "In contrast, 2009 coincided with the height of the recession and showed higher declines in employment and establishments."
Between 2009 and 2010, only Alaska showed a rise in employment from the previous year, having increased 0.7 percent. All other states showed declines in employment, led by Wyoming’s 4.5 percent decline from 2009.
The retail trade sector had the highest number of establishments (1.1 million). Next were professional, scientific and technical services (851,506); health care and social assistance (812,860); other services (except public administration) (725,488); construction (682,684); and accommodation and food services (643,960).
The construction sector showed the largest percentage decline in establishments, decreasing 4.2 percent from 2009 to 2010. The finance and insurance sector had the second largest decline, falling 3.2 percent from 2009 to 2010. The remaining top five sectors that showed the largest decline in establishments were manufacturing (2.9 percent), management of companies and enterprises (1.4 percent), and wholesale trade (1.2 percent).
Among industries that showed an increase in establishments, both utilities and health care and social assistance saw the largest increase, rising 1.7 percent from the previous year. The remaining top five industries that showed the largest increase in establishments were educational services (1.5 percent); accommodation and food services (1.4 percent); and professional, scientific, and technical services (1.1 percent).