Washington’s economy is supported by small businesses, and it was small business that pulled the state through difficult economic times. According to the Brookings Institution, the nation’s small business sector is one of the great strengths of the U.S. economy, historically accounting for 64 percent of net new jobs. New and young small businesses have generated 40 million jobs in the past 25 years, representing 20 percent of gross job creation.
According to 2013 data, small businesses in Washington state numbered 555,285, or 98 percent of all businesses. They employed 1.3 million workers or 51.7 percent of the state’s workforce. There was a net 43,690 new jobs created by small businesses and, as the most trade dependent state in the country, Washington’s small employers make up 89.9 percent of all exporters in the state. A robust 20.4 percent of the state’s workforce is employed by firms with fewer than 20 employees.