The Birth of a Firm

A new discussion paper by researchers at the New York and Atlanta Feds looks at a large category of businesses—those without employees, or nonemployer firms—for which little is known about how these businesses are born and their subsequent financial life cycles. These businesses make up 80 percent of total businesses in the United States. Self-employment is an important source of alternative income for particular economically distressed populations, and it provides a possible path up the economic ladder.

The paper delves into findings from data on nonemployer firms in the 2014 Joint Small Business Credit Survey Adobe PDF file formatOff-site link, a new annual survey by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, and Philadelphia. The paper, "The Financing Experiences of Nonemployer Firms: Evidence from the 2014 Joint Small Business Credit Survey," by the New York Fed's Stephanie Rosoff and Ellie Terry of the Atlanta Fed, looks first at attributes of these nonemployer firms as compared to those with employees. The paper also discusses how the financing needs of nonemployers differ from employer firms and what types of financing they rely on.