In response to our Top 20 most frequently asked questions about Small Business article, we often are asked where researchers can dig deeper into certain answers we provide. (The answers have links to sources, but it’s a challenge to find just the right answer you may be seeking when plowing through the massive vaults of data maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

One of the most consistently asked questions has to do with the survivability of a new business. Apparently, someone once-upon-a-time said that (fill-in-the-blank) businesses fail within (any-number-you-make-up) years. There are many reasons this statistic is wrong (no matter what you put in the blanks), but here are a few obvious ones: Businesses in one industry have survivability rates different from businesses in other industries. And different regions of the country have recessions and booms at different times. And different locations within one section of a town have closure rates a block away. You get the idea.

The good news: long version

Another thing that “failure” statistics users fail to mention. The vast majority of Bureau of Labor and Statistics data is focused on job creation and “closures” of business.  And “closures” are not always failures. For example, closures of profitable businesses occur frequently. Mergers and acquisitions of businesses can result in one less business, but that’s not the same as a failure to the BLS, the most comprehensive source of statistical data related to business and job creation, survivability and length of operation.

Want to go for a deep dive into statistics related to business survivability? If so, the links below are to information maintained by the BLS that are related to jobs, businesses (or establishment)  and survivability rates in a broad range of industries and in all 50 states.


The table of size standards can also be found online in the Small Business Size Regulations published by the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. You can also check whether your business is small using the size standards tool.


The great news: short version

Want to skip the thousands of spreadsheets linked below? In 2014, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker did the math to show that businesses don’t fail as often or as fast as the pseudo-experts may claim. Here’s what they discovered:

“As far as we can tell, there is no statistical basis for the assertion that nine out of 10 businesses fail. It appears to be one of those nonsense facts that people repeat without thinking too clearly about it.”

Washington Post Fact Checker


 

 

Jump to state-by-state data

National Data by Industry

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

Utilities

Construction

Manufacturing

Wholesale trade

Retail trade

Transportation and warehousing

Information

Finance and insurance

Real estate and rental and leasing

Professional, scientific, and technical services

Management of companies and enterprises

Administrative and waste services

Educational services

Health care and social assistance

Arts, entertainment, and recreation

Accommodation and food services

Other services (except public administration)

Establishment age and survival data by state

US Map

Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey District of Columbia Delaware Maryland New Hampshire Vermont Montana Colorado Wyoming Washington Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Alaska Hawaii Oregon California Idaho Nevada Utah Arizona New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisonsin Michigan Illinois Indiana Ohio Kentucky Tennessee Mississippi Alabama Florida Maine New York Pennsylvania West Virginia Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Virgin Islands

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

 

Last Modified Date: November 8, 2017

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