Biggest Portion of Americans Employed by Big Business

March 19, 2002 ( - The profile of the US worker is changing as the likelihood of being employed by larger companies increases, data from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) show.

In 1999, big companies, those employing 500 or more workers, employed 49.7% of the nation’s 111 million workers, compared to 45.5% 11 years previously. If the data is extrapolated, the figure probably passed 50% in 2000, the SBA says.

In addition, nearly 17,000 large companies accounted for about 55 million employees.

According to a USA Today report citing the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the shift means that more people will be covered by company benefits.

According to EBRI:

  • about 82% of big employers offer health insurance, compared to 68% of small firms,79% of employees at bigger companies have retirement plans, versus 46% of employees at small companies
  • But small firms still have some clout. Almost 90% of the US’s 5.6 million employers have fewer than 20 workers. And smaller businesses create 75% of new jobs

And small firms may temporarily regain an edge on employment when SBA figures for 2001 are released in the fall next year – since large companies cut a record 2 million jobs last year.