15 Fascinating North Carolina Small Business Statistics


North Carolina’s economic growth is centered around its urban areas. While cities like Greensboro, Charlotte, and Raleigh have witnessed rapid economic and population growth, rural economies have been stagnating.

This is because most of rural North Carolina was dependent on textile and furniture factories, but due to off-shoring of labor to cheaper markets like China, most corporations in these industries have had to close down. To put it into perspective, one in five manufacturing jobs in the state has been lost to overseas competition.

Despite the shortfalls of doing business in the state, small business owners remain optimistic. The state’s manageable tax rates and friendly regulations attract a lot of would-be entrepreneurs.

Here is a list of statistics on Small Businesses (SMBs) from the state of North Carolina:

  • There are 934,604 small businesses in North Carolina, equaling 99.6% of all businesses in the state.
  • Small businesses employ 1.7 million people—45.3%  of all North Carolina employees.
  • It costs $125 to file Articles of Incorporation to register a business in North Carolina.
  • North Carolina does not require a universal business license. However, businesses are still required to acquire an operating license depending on the county they operate in and the type of products or services they offer.
  • It takes 5–7 business days to register a business in North Carolina.
  • In 2019, SMBs created 62,614 new jobs. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees created 40,060 of these new jobs.
  • The average median income for self-employed individuals running their own incorporated business is $50,000. Those with unincorporated businesses have a median income of $22,000.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2018, there were 6,191 businesses that exited the market, resulting in 20,506 lost jobs. In the same period, 5,956 businesses started up, creating 21,269 new jobs.
  • There are 9,607 SMBs in the export business that account for 22.5% of the state’s $29.2 billion worth of export revenue. 
  • SMBs in the accommodation and food services sectors account for 59.5% of the total private workforce with over 258,000 employees.
  • The corporate tax rate is capped at 2.5%. That’s 2.5% lower than in South Carolina and 3.5% lower than neighboring Virginia.
  • The state’s personal income tax rate is capped at 5.25%. This applies to limited liability companies whose income passes through to the owner and hence is calculated as personal income.
  • State incentives to businesses differ according to business types, industries, and county jurisdiction. 
  • There are 269 small businesses in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sectors. Of these, 65 have fewer than 20 employees.


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