Before the Recession, Black-Owned Businesses Boomed
(Washington Post) — The number of black-owned businesses nationwide grew much faster than the rate for all businesses during the five years before the recession began, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ranks of black firms shot up more than 60 percent from 2002 to 2007, compared with the overall national increase of 4 percent. By the end of the boom, Prince George’s County had the highest share of black-owned businesses – 55 percent – among all large counties in the nation. Less clear is how those firms fared after the recession hit. The Census Bureau did not offer any information on how minority-owned businesses did after late 2007, when the economic downturn began. Richard Clinch, a University of Baltimore economist, said that although the number of black-owned firms in the Washington region probably declined over the past couple of years, the damage was likely limited because a high volume of government contracts kept business flowing to those companies. Clinch said the government also maintains a program that tries to send more contracts to minority-owned small businesses, an effort that should have acted as a buffer during the downturn.