WASHINGTON - Conditions favorable for entrepreneurship in 2003 laid the foundation for the job gains of 2004, according to a new report issued by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).Small Business Economic Indicators for 2003notes that "important economic indicators advanced throughout the year" so that "the outlook for future small business expansion was positive at the end of 2003."

"Small business plays a key role in our economy," said Thomas M. Sullivan, chief counsel for advocacy. "Entrepreneurs launch new ideas and they propel our economy's evolution. This dynamic risk-taking results in 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs, so when economic conditions are favorable for growth, job gains are not far behind. That is exactly what has happened."

The report compiles data that indicate the health of small business including macroeconomic statistics, financial information, employment data, and business births and terminations by state. The annual report makes the data available for economists, researchers, and policymakers.

The report found that 2003 saw an estimated 572,900 employer firm births and 554,800 terminations. This resulted in a net increase in employer firms of 18,100, or 0.3 percent, while the number of non-incorporated self-employed rose by 369,000, or 3.7 percent. The report also confirmed that by year's end interest rates were low and banks had relaxed lending standards, which set the stage for an uptick in job creation and employment.

For more information and a full copy of the report, visit the Office of Advocacy Web site at www.sba.gov/advo.

Publication date: 08/23/2004