2020 Small Business Profile from the Office of Advocacy

620,125 Small Businesses 1.1 million Small Business Employees
99.5% of Tennessee Businesses 42.1% of Tennessee Employees
EMPLOYMENT DIVERSITY TRADE 40,374 58,191 6,088 net new jobs self–employed small business minorities exporters
A note on COVID–19: This report uses the most up-to-date government data to present a unique snapshot of small businesses. The BLS
employment estimates capture the early stages of the pandemic. All other sources reflect data collected prior to the pandemic.
Overall Economy
• In the fourth quarter of 2019, Tennessee grew at an annual rate of 2.0%, which was slower than the overall US growth
rate of 2.1%. Tennessee’s 2019 overall growth rate of 2.2% was down from the 2018 rate of 3.1%. (Source: BEA)
• In April 2020, the unemployment rate was 14.7%, up from 3.5% in April 2019. This was equal to the April 2020 national
unemployment rate of 14.7%. (Source: CPS)
Figure 1: Tennessee Employment by Business Size
fewer than 20
20 to 99
100 to 499
more than 500
2000 2005 2010 2015
• Tennessee small businesses employed 1.1 million people,
or 42.1% of the private workforce, in 2017. (Source: SUSB)
• Firms with 20 to 99 employees have the largest share of
small business employment. Figure 1 provides further
details on firms with employees. (Source: SUSB)
• Private-sector employment decreased 12.3% during the
12-month period ending in April 2020. This was below
the increase of 2.3% during the prior 12-month period.
(Source: CES)
• The number of proprietors increased in 2018 by 2.8% relative
to the previous year. (Source: BEA)
• Small businesses created 40,374 net jobs in 2019. Firms
employing fewer than 20 employees experienced the
largest gains, adding 24,370 net jobs. The smallest gains
were in firms employing 100 to 499 employees, which
added 7,294 net jobs. (Source: BDM)
The Small Business Profiles are produced by the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy (http://advocacy.sba.gov). These
profiles define small businesses as firms with fewer than 500 employees. Net small business job change, self–employed minorities, and
exporter share statistics are based on 2019 Business Employment Dynamics (BDM), 2018 American Community Survey (ACS), and

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