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Small businesses are a large part of the American tradition, and still play a vital role in the U.S. economy. Consider: In 2011 there were 28.2 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for 99.7% of America’s employers; comparatively, there are only 17,700 firms with 500 employees or more, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

In fact, small-business employers—defined by the Office of Advocacy as those independent businesses with fewer than 500 employees—are the ones driving the nation’s economic recovery. Small firms accounted for 63% of the net new private-sector jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013, or 14.3 million of the 22.9 million net new jobs, the SBA says. Since the end of the Great Recession (mid-2009 to mid-2013), small firms accounted for 60% of the net new jobs, with firms in the 20-499 employee category leading U.S. job creation.

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