Historically, startups have been the engine of US economy. By creating new jobs and surfacing new ideas, startups play an outsized role in making the economy grow.
It’s too bad they are a dying breed.
The share of companies that are startups has been falling
While companies that were less than two years old made up about 13% of all companies in 1985, they only accounted for 8% in 2014.
A far smaller share of people work for startupsFrom around 1998 to 2010, the share of private sector workers in companies that were less than two years old plummeted from more than 9% to less than 5%.
The startup decline is happening across the economyA new report from the Brookings Institution, finds that in nearly every industry, from agriculture to finance, the share of new companies is falling.
So what’s going on?It’s not entirely clear, but the authors of the Brookings report have some ideas.
One possibility: Startups are struggling in this era of rising market concentration. In most industries, since the 1980s, the share of all sales going to the top firms is increasing. Startups may have a hard time competing with these mega firms, which can out pay them for the best talent and sometimes attempt to drive them out of the industry. Previous Brookings research found there are fewer startups in states where a smaller number of companies dominate the market (pdf).
Another related possibility is that the most-educated American workers are no longer attracted to entrepreneurship. In 1992, 4% of 25-54 year olds with a master’s degree or PhD owned a small company with at least 10 employees. In 2017, this was true of only 2.2%. Companies started by the highly educated are often unusually productive....MORE
One More Time: It's Not Small Businesses that Create Jobs...
...it's small YOUNG businesses.
Long time readers are probably getting sick of the topic but it really matters when targeting government efforts at job creation. The sole-proprietor attorney making a couple hundred K in Chattanooga is not going to be creating jobs even if you cut his top marginal tax rate to 5%.
There are millions of people who have small businesses as a way to create a job for themselves and don't want the headaches and/or risks of expanding. There are millions more that are in declining businesses that can't expand. And on and on.
Here's FT Alphaville with a couple different pieces of the puzzles:...