Survey: Growing Black-owned business sector creates millions in local impact

Black-owned businesses in Warren County are estimated to create more than $153.1 million in total economic output, according to a new survey.

The University of Cincinnati’s Alpaugh Family Economics Center and the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce studied the four-county region of Warren, Butler, Hamilton and Clermont counties.

Black-owned businesses in Warren County alone are estimated to support a total of 468 jobs with earnings of more than $26.9 million in 2022, according to the study.

Across the full study region, 969 Black-owned businesses were estimated to create $1.2 billion in direct output and $875.1 in indirect output; create 3,668 direct jobs and 2,246 indirect jobs; and support $181.1 million in direct wages and $123 million in indirect wages.

Eric Kearney, president and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, gave the survey update to the Warren County commissioners last week. He said of the 468 jobs supported by Black-owned businesses in Warren County, about 138 are located in Mason.

Kearney estimated about 12% to 15% of Warren County businesses are Black-owned.

“The growth was more than what was anticipated,” he said. “Small businesses are growing rapidly. Warren County is in a good place, and you may want to consider policies to foster this.”

In Butler County, Black-owned businesses were responsible for generating $124 million of total economic output, and supported 249 jobs with total earnings of $12.3 million, according to the survey. In addition 85% of the direct jobs were in Hamilton, Fairfield and West Chester Twp.

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The survey’s summary said, “understanding the economic impact of Black-owned businesses is particularly important as minority-owned businesses have grown at almost twice the rate, 39%, of all other groups, making them one of the fastest-growing sectors of the small business segment. As the demographic of the United States becomes more diverse throughout the 21st century, minority-owned firms will continue to grow in their importance.”

The Economics Center also calculated the tax impact of Black-owned businesses surveyed in the four-county region, saying they generated more than $13.5 million in local and state income and sales taxes. Of that amount, it found that nearly $700,000 in local sales tax revenue and more than $3.7 million in local earnings tax revenue were generated in the four counties. In addition, the Black-owned businesses generated nearly $6.7 million in state income tax revenue and about $2.5 million in state sales tax revenue.

“Black-owned businesses have made a significant impact on the region over the past few years,” said David Mahon, executive director of the UC Economics Center. “There is a potential for more growth as financial and other barriers are reduced for Black businessmen and entrepreneurs.”

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Warren County Commissioner Shannon Jones said she thought Kearney’s presentation “was eye-opening because she never looked at this through that lens ... It was very interesting and I appreciated the information and the work done by the African American Chamber of Commerce.”

Jones and Kearney previously served together as members of the Ohio Senate.

In February 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey reported the number of U.S. Black-owned businesses grew from 2017 to 2019 in all sectors of the U.S. economy.

In 2019, there were 134,567 Black-owned employer businesses (businesses with more than one employee) in all sectors of the U.S. economy, an 8% hike from the 124,551 Black-owned employer businesses in 2018, according to the ABS.

The estimated 134,567 Black-owned businesses had $133.7 billion in annual receipts, 1.3 million employees and about $40.5 billion in annual payroll. About 29.5% (39,705) of these businesses were in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector.

According to the 2020 Annual Business Survey (ABS), approximately 18.7% (1.1 million) of U.S. employer businesses were minority-owned. About 20.9% (1.2 million) of businesses were owned by women.

Census Bureau data shows that American entrepreneurship as a whole has been increasing. The Census Bureau’s most recent Business Formation Statistics showed that Americans applied for a record 5.4 million business ID numbers in 2021.

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