WHERE are most jobs created in America? Is it in small companies or large ones?
For many years, the accepted wisdom has been that it is in smaller companies. But newly released figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics challenge that notion.
“The most growth in employment has been in large firms,” said Nathan Clausen, the bureau’s economist in charge of the development of the new statistics, which were released this month after more than two years of development.
The figures cover employment from April 1990 — one month after employment reached a high for that economic cycle — through March 2011, just over a year after employment hit bottom after the 2007-9 recession.
Over that entire period, employment at large companies — defined as those having at least 500 employees — rose 29 percent, while employment at smaller companies rose by less than half as much.
At small companies, defined as those with fewer than 49 employees, the total number of jobs rose by just 10.5 percent over the period. Had the entire private sector grown at that pace, rather than rising by more than 19 percent, as it actually did, there would have been nearly eight million fewer people with jobs last March, and the unemployment rate would have been around 14 percent.