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Small Businesses Make Big Impact on Local Economy

By Will Barclay


For the last 10 years, there has been a national effort to collectively support local businesses with Small Business Saturday. Since 2010, this initiative has served as a reminder that gifts and services purchased locally for the holidays supports businesses and jobs in our backyards. In fact, it is estimated that 67 cents of every $1 spent at local businesses stays in the local economy, which helps support employees’ wages and benefits and other businesses nearby. In addition, it is estimated that for every 10 jobs at a small business, another seven are supported in the local community.

The day, which is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year, also provides an opportunity to shed light on the long-term and far-reaching impact that small businesses have on the local economy. More than half of all private-sector workers earn a paycheck from small businesses. Collectively, these businesses provide 3.9 million jobs statewide and in 2018 were responsible for about $212.6 billion in payroll in New York alone. While small businesses are defined as having 500 employees or less, 81 percent of small businesses in New York have fewer than 10 employees. They provide more than 957,000 jobs with payrolls totaling $43 billion.

Locally, their impact cannot be overstated. The jobs small businesses create in individual counties was recently outlined in a report put together by the State Comptroller which was based on the latest Census from 2013. Oswego County reported 1,827 small businesses, which supported 14,096 employees; Onondaga County reported 9,001 small businesses, which employed 103,138 people; and Jefferson County reported 1,894 small businesses that provided jobs for 18,091.

Because the businesses are owned, managed, and have employees who live in the local community, they are also inherently community-minded and are more likely to create relationships in local neighborhoods and develop partnerships with local leaders — all of which contributes to stronger local economy and creates safer communities. Many also contribute generously to community causes and support other small businesses in the area. All of this helps increase local sales-tax receipts and, in general, adds to local tax base, which supports municipal services, local roads, and education and improves the quality of life for all residents.

To learn more about small businesses in New York state and to access resources for small-business owners, visit Empire State Development’s website. This agency shares details on financing and grant opportunities available to small businesses at       

William (Will) A. Barclay is the Republican representative of the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact him at or (315) 598-5185.

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