A new report by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy finds small businesses are leading most states’ economy recovery.

Clark Hopkins, Getty Images

The Small Business Profile for the States and Territories, an annual analysis of each state’s small businesses, finds that small businesses employ 55 million workers nationwide, nearly half – 49.1 percent – of the private-sector labor force.  All in all, the country’s 27.8 million small businesses now represent 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States.

Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy, said “From coast to coast, states all across the nation are depending on small businesses to lead them out of this economic downturn. Most of the country’s small businesses continue to be very small, having fewer than 20 employees, but they paint a big picture of a recovering America.  Advocacy’s state-by-state analyses give us a clear understanding of just how important small businesses are to each state’s economy – and to the nation.”

The report also finds self-employment improved over the last decade nationwide, while minority self-employment saw the largest growth.

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent voice for small business within the federal government. Each state’s small business profile can be read or downloaded by visiting the Office of Advocacy’s website.