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Business Opportunities

Business Starts, Business Size, Business Failures And Terminations, Safest And Riskiest Businesses, Number Of Businesses

Starting or acquiring a business has long been considered an American dream. For many, this dream is a reality, whether it is a part-time venture with annual receipts of less than $25,000 or a corporate entity with receipts of millions of dollars per year. For the purpose of discussing the present and future of self-ownership business opportunities in the United States, the material in this chapter will focus primarily on what has been published about small business and home-based business from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA; http://www.sba.gov).

In its efforts to estimate the number of small businesses in the country, the U.S. Census Bureau counts Schedule C businesses (individual proprietorship or self-employed individuals), partnerships, and Subchapter S corporations (usually small corporations in which the profits pass through to the owners without being taxed first). It does not count the large number of small businesses incorporated as standard corporations.

Every five years, in years ending in "2" and "7," the U.S. Census Bureau surveys business enterprises and publishes an Economic Census that compiles and analyzes a wide variety of statistical data about business and industry. The entire report is published in stages, starting two years after the designated census date. The most recent reports available are taken from the Economic Census of 2002, and these reports provide the most accurate data available concerning the state of small business at the turn of the twenty-first century.

As of 2006 the most current U.S. Census Bureau economic survey with fully available data on small business and home-based business remains the 1997 Economic Census. In some instances, this five-year census report does not analyze the data for the same criteria used previously. Therefore, data derived from the 1992 census and published in 1997 as Characteristics of Business Owners Survey are also used in this chapter. The outstanding portion of the 2002 census is scheduled for release during the remainder of 2006. Thus, by the end of 2006, the economic data for small and home-based businesses will be more current, and a new economic census will be undertaken in 2007. The publication schedule for reports from the 2002 Economic Census is available online at http://www.census.gov/econ/census02/guide/g02sched.htm.

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Jobs and Career OpportunitiesCareers and Occupations: Looking to the Future