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Louisiana small business profile

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This SmalBusiness.com Local Project entry provides a overview of small business activities in Louisiana. You can find information about a wide array of small business resources in Louisiana at the Louisiana Hub.

In Louisiana, small businesses are vital to the financial well-being of the state’s economy. Their contribution is essential for economic growth since they make up almost all employer firms in the state. As entrepreneurs and innovators, small business owners represented a diverse group in 2004 and continued to keep the state’s economy productive. The Small Business Profile provides information on the performance of small businesses in the state using the most current federal data available. This Small Business Profile was prepared by the U.S. Small Business Administration and provides information on the performance of small businesses in the state using the most current federal data available.

Number of Businesses

There were an estimated 347,436 small businesses in Louisiana in 2004. Of the 96,084 firms with employees, an estimated 97.6 percent, or 93,742, were small firms. In 2004, the estimated number of employer businesses increased by 1.7 percent. The number of self-employed persons (including incorporated) decreased overall by 1.8 percent, from 225,324 in 2003 to 221,305 in 2004. Non-employer businesses numbered 253,694 in 2002, an increase of 5 percent since 2001, based on the most recent data available.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau; U.S. Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Women-Owned Businesses

In 2002 women-owned firms totaled 86,844, an increase of 23 percent from 1997, and generated $12.3 billion in revenues. Firms owned jointly by women and men numbered 44,196 with revenues of $9.7 billion. Women represented 32.7 percent of the self-employed persons in the state.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)

Minority-Owned Businesses

In 2002, Hispanic-owned firms numbered 7,646, an increase of 15 percent from 1997. Black-owned firms numbered 40,252, an increase of 56 percent; Asian-owned firms numbered 8,224, an increase of 28 percent; American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms numbered 2,707, a decrease of 16 percent; and the number of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander-owned businesses was unavailable.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)

Business Turnover

There were an estimated 9,875 new employer businesses in 2004, 6.2 percent more than the previous year. Business terminations numbered 9,668 in 2004, a decrease of 20.6 percent. Business bankruptcies increased by 24.6 percent and totaled 622 in 2004.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)


Small firms with fewer than 500 employees numbered 79,693 in 2002 and employed 853,102 individuals, or 53.9 percent of the state’s non-farm private sector. Net job gains among firms with fewer than 20 employees totaled 16,032, while large firms with 500 or more employees lost 26,544 jobs between 2001 and 2002.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses.)

Small Business Income

Non-farm proprietors’ income, a partial measure of small business income, increased by 7.5 percent, from $9.7 billion in 2002 to $10.5 billion in 2003.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce.)


Commercial bank lenders are an important source of small business loans, and small firms usually rely on them for financing. Over the last 10 years the number of banks in Louisiana has declined. The Office of Advocacy has identified banks in each state that make the most loans to small businesses. This information is available in its banking studies at http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/lending.html.

See also