S. E. Williams
The good news was almost lost among the hustle and bustle of last year’s holiday season because that was when the U.S. Census Bureau chose to release its Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Ethnicity, Race and Veteran Status: 2012 Report, a report which showed California leading the nation in minority-owned businesses.
At the apex of this progress was the County of Los Angeles which led the nation in the number of Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, and Alaska Native-owned firms. Also, according to the estimates presented in the report, Los Angeles County ranked second in the nation relative to the number of black businesses.
Although Los Angeles County was home to merely 3.2 percent of the nation’s total population, it claimed 7.9 percent of the country’s minority-owned businesses, quite an accomplishment. The report highlighted a new reality that fully 55 percent of the county’s small businesses were minority-owned, a clear reflection of its remarkably diverse population.
African Americans owned 7.1 percent of the small businesses in that geographical region even though they accounted for 12.7 percent of it’s population. However, there was more encouraging news for black America relative to small business ownership—nationally. The reported showed there was a significant uptick in black-owned businesses across the country.
There were 2.6 million black owned firms nationally. The exciting news is the numbers were up nearly 35 percent over the 2007 findings. The information also indicated the largest percentage of black owned businesses were in the health care/social assistance sectors—two areas where growth opportunities surely exist in light of the aging baby-boomer population.
Despite the nay-sayers who continue to argue that small businesses are not the economic engine of the nation, President Barack Obama has continued to see it differently. Throughout his presidency he has maintained a commitment to creating an environment where America’s small businesses can develop, grow, and prosper. To this end, black owned businesses are slowly evolving as employers; however according to the report, in 2012 only 4.2 percent of black owned businesses nationally, hired employees.
Since taking office the president has supported small businesses with new tax relief, favorable treatment of investments, and rewards for hiring. Under his leadership, 18 tax cuts for small businesses were passed; through the Recovery Act and the Small Business Jobs Act the Small Business Administration has approved 334,815 loans which supported $163 billion in lending for small businesses.
Remarkably, minority owned businesses are not the only area where California excelled in this report. California, along with Texas, also led the nation in the number of veteran-owned firms and Los Angeles County had more veteran-owned firms than any other county in the nation.
The United States Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners is a sample survey that provides the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on selected economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status.