F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
June 4, 2000
Small Business Is Where the Action Is

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Small businesses are "the most dynamic economic force in America, leading the way in job growth, opportunity, and technological advancement."

"In the year 2000, America is home to more than 12 million businesses," reports Jim Weidman of the National Federation of Independent Business. "About two thirds of these businesses are operated by sole proprietors," he observes, "working without any paid employees. Virtually all of the remaining firms are small. Nearly 90 percent employ fewer than 20 people. Over half employ fewer than five."

In a recent issue of Labor Watch, published by the Capital Research Center, Weidman points out that small businesses "provide almost 60 percent of America's private-sector jobs. They produce about 40 percent of the nation's gross domestic product," he remarks, "more than $2 trillion annually. In aggregate, American small business ranks as the world's third greatest economic power, trailing only the U.S. as a whole and Japan."

Weidman describes small business as "a prolific and efficient source of innovation. Compared to big business, it introduces two-and-a-half times as many innovations per employee and develops them at a lower cost, bringing them to market more quickly. Even more impressive," he contends, "is small business' performance as a creator of jobs. In the last 25 years, it's estimated that small firms created two of every three new jobs. During recessions," says Weidman, "small business is almost the sole source of job growth. From 1988-1990, firms with more than 500 employees lost 501,000 net jobs," he recalls. "But businesses with fewer than 20 employees generated 4.1 million net new jobs, leading the way to what is now our longest economic expansion."

The relationship of small business to unions is essentially an inverse one: while the former has prospered, the latter have declined. "Massive layoffs in the industrial sector, coupled with corporate downsizing, have eroded the unions' private-sector base," Weidman notes. "Because small business is where the action is in job growth, unions will try to crack small businesses to regain their standing," he predicts. "Yet tackling small firms is a difficult task for union organizers." Weidman emphasizes that "the vast majority of small firms are simply too small to provide a reasonable return on an organizing investment. Perhaps even more daunting for unionists," he adds, "is the absence of employee dissatisfaction with small-business management."

Imagine: eight million one-man shops in America! And that doesn't include all the part-time entrepreneurs, the moonlighters who hope -- and maybe even expect -- that the free-lance projects they do on the side will eventually eclipse their day jobs and lead to full autonomy. With a second book now on the market (Politickles: Limericks Lampooning the Lunatic Left, available at Amazon.com and other online locations), I place myself in this same category. I've got a notebook full of writing projects I'd like to tackle, if only I had the time and money to pursue them. I may or may not be able someday to support myself and my family on these efforts alone; but, if I ever am, you can be certain that the sole employee of Duplantier Inc. will be happy with the management.

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