NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Small Businesses Create More Jobs? New Evidence from the National Establishment Time Series

David Neumark, Brandon Wall, Junfu Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 13818
Issued in February 2008
NBER Program(s):   IO   LS

We use a new database, the National Establishment Time Series (NETS), to revisit the debate about the role of small businesses in job creation. Birch (e.g., 1987) argued that small firms are the most important source of job creation in the U.S. economy, but Davis et al. (1996a) argued that this conclusion was flawed, and based on improved methods and using data for the manufacturing sector they concluded that there was no relationship between establishment size and net job creation. Using the NETS data, we examine evidence for the overall economy, as well as for different sectors. The results indicate that small establishments and small firms create more jobs, on net, although the difference is much smaller than what is suggested by Birch's methods. However, the negative relationship between establishment size and job creation is much less clear for the manufacturing sector, which may explain some of the earlier findings contradicting Birch's conclusions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13818

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