According to this international comparative study of small business policies:
The OECD data demonstrate that: The United States has the second lowest share of self-employed workers (7.2 percent) – only Luxembourg has a lower share (6.1 percent). France (9.0 percent), Sweden (10.6 percent), Germany (12.0 percent) the United Kingdom (13.8 percent), Italy (26.4 percent) and 14
other rich countries all have higher proportions of self-employment.
Not only do we lag in number of self-employed comparitvely but also are far behind in resilience based upon small-business employment:
The United States has among the lowest shares of employment in small businesses in
manufacturing. Only 11.1 percent of the U.S. manufacturing workforce is in enterprises with
fewer than 20 employees. Eighteen other rich countries have a higher share of
manufacturing employment in enterprises of this size, including Germany (13.0 percent),
Sweden (14.4 percent), France (18.0 percent), the United Kingdom (18.1 percent), and Italy
(30.9 percent). Only Ireland (9.6 percent) and Luxembourg (8.5 percent) have a lower share
of manufacturing employment in enterprises with fewer than 20 employees. (Raising the
cutoff for a small business to fewer than 500 employees does not significantly alter the
relative position of the United States.)
U.S. small businesses have a much lower share of employment than the comparison
economies do in the two high-tech fields for which the OECD publishes data: computerrelated
services and research and development.
The United States has the second lowest share of computer-related service employment in
firms with fewer than 100 employees (32.0 percent). . .
Similarly, the United States has the third lowest share of research and development related
employment in firms with fewer than 100 employees
This is not healthy for our economy nor our political institutions. (See here, here, here, here, here) Alabama is 47th in entrepreneurial activity. However, we need a change of mindset within our policy makers:
We know politicians love ribbon-cuttings; the bigger the better. Politicians also crave the major industry and big plant opening. (Usually, the politician had nothing to do with the creation of the business; they are just stealing credit from the entrepreneur.) However, real rural development believes “small is beautiful.” As discussed in this article entitled There is Such a Thing as Rural Development by Larry Lee, “rural Alabama and statewide policymakers must look beyond our traditional manufacturing economy.”
“We need to devote far more energy and resources to helping entrepreneurs get their feet on the ground and to helping small business grow and succeed. Alabama has known for many years that about 75 percent of all new jobs annually come from industry expansions. But there is nothing sexy when a cabinetmaker hires one or two people. There is not a groundbreaking or photo op for mayors, county commissioners and officials from Montgomery. We must recognize that, by and large, rural Alabama is the land of small businesses. Census data shows that of the 25,000 businesses in rural communities, 96 percent of them have 49 or fewer employees.