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Serving Their Country, Then Serving Their Customers

Tue May 17 2011
Tom Mesenbourg, Deputy Director, US Census Bureau
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In about two weeks, the nation will observe Memorial Day, in which we commemorate U.S. soldiers who perished while in military service. Today, we recognize our military veterans who, following their service to their country, transitioned into civilian lives of serving customers as business owners.

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Their immense contributions to our U.S. economy can be seen in the data on veteran-owned businesses from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO). This survey provides the first-ever estimates of all veteran-owned firms in the United States.

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In 2007, businesses in which veterans owned 51 percent or more of the equity, interest, or stock in the business numbered 2.4 million businesses and generated $1.2 trillion in receipts. These businesses employed 5.8 million people and their payrolls totaled $210.0 billion. Separate estimates are also available for businesses that are owned equally by veterans and nonveterans. When you add in businesses where veterans were half-owners, the respective totals are even more impressive: 3.7 million businesses and $1.6 trillion.

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In 2007, nearly one-in-three veteran-owned businesses operated in the professional, scientific, and technical services and the construction sectors. The former category includes businesses as varied as offices of lawyers, accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, veterinary services, portrait studios, and management consulting services.

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The SBO also provides us with a detailed look at businesses by veteran ownership status for smaller geographic areas, including states, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

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