Want a snapshot of a state's small-business health and fitness? Every year, the Office of Advocacy of the SBA compiles a report on small businesses for each state, and this document provides fascinating and useful data. In Hawaii, for instance, 3,200 new small businesses opened in 1998-and 3,200 closed up in the same year. A real bonus in these reports: For every state, the SBA offers up a list of small-business-friendly lenders as measured by loans actually issued. Of course, every state gets its turn in this document, and the more you read, the more surprises. For instance, did you know that in 1998, small businesses made up 97 percent of Mississippi's employers? Or that 99 percent of businesses in California are considered small businesses according to the SBA's definition?
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