Now, the company has ranked the best -- and worst -- cities to work for a small business in, and Denver's is number one again. But of which list? Find out below, where we feature the top five in each category, complete with photos and text from Cardhub. Let the countdown begin.
Fifth best: San Francisco
San Francisco has long been recognized as a bastion for entrepreneurial spirit, and the Bay Area now boasts the 6th most small businesses per capita, ranks 5th in terms of both small business vitality and net small business job growth, and offers the 2nd highest wages to new hires. The city also recently upped the ante in welcoming start-ups, establishing an Emerging Business Loan Fund which enables qualified businesses to "apply for a loan ranging from $50,000 to $1 million to cover operational, staffing, equipment, expansion, and real estate costs," according to the California Economic Summit website.
Fifth worst: Detroit
The Motor City was the epicenter for much of the economic strife during the Great Recession, and while bailouts breathed new life into the city's automotive industry, Detroit's small business community continues to be marred by low rankings in terms of small businesses per capita (22/30), small business vitality (28/30), net small business job growth (27/30), unemployment rate (29/30), new hire earnings (21/30), hours worked (24/30), and industry variety (26/30).
The birthplace of Starbucks and Nordstrom and a key West Coast hub for manufacturing, transportation and entrepreneurship, Seattle ranks as the 4th best city for small business employees in 2013. This strong overall result comes on the strength of the Emerald City ranking 5th nationally in terms of small businesses per capita, 2nd for small business vitality, and in the top 10 for unemployment, new hire earnings, and industry variety.
Fourth worst: Riverside, California
Much like Sacramento and many of California's other major metropolitan areas, Riverside's economy took a beating during the Great Recession and has yet to bounce back in earnest. More specifically, out of the 30 cities that CardHub evaluated, the Riverside metropolitan area ranks last in terms of number of small businesses per capita, small business vitality, and unemployment rate as well as in the bottom third for new hire earnings and hours spent at work.
Companies with fewer than 50 employees comprise roughly half of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce's membership, and the surrounding metropolitan area has nearly 27 companies with fewer than 250 employees per 1,000 residents. Minneapolis also boasts the least competition for jobs among the 30 major cities CardHub evaluated, its workforce spends relatively little time on the job, and the city ranks in the top 10 nationally in terms of small business vitality, industry variety, and stress.
Third worst: Sacramento
Not only was Sacramento one of the cities hit hardest by the Great Recession, but it has also displayed one of the most lethargic economic recoveries. It therefore makes sense that this metropolitan area ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in terms of the number of small businesses per capita, small business vitality, unemployment, and new hire earnings. That, combined with below-average job growth and stress rankings, explains why Sacramento is among the worst cities to work for a small business in 2013.
Boston ranks among the top 10 nationally in terms of the number of small businesses per capita, small business vitality, unemployment rate, disposable income, and hours worked. Such factors were enough to overcome a relatively high cost of living and garner Beantown the distinction of being the second best city to work for a small business in 2013.
Second worst: Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in terms of small business vitality, unemployment, stress, and cost of living. It also sits in the middle of the pack for small businesses per capita, small business job growth, new hire earnings, and industry variety. About the only thing the Philadelphia metro area has going for it is that its employees work the 4th fewest hours, on average, out of the 30 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
It's no surprise that Denver topped the list of the Best Cities to Work for a Small Business, as 97% of employers in Colorado are classified as small businesses and such companies comprise 90% of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's membership. The Mile High metropolitan area boasts nearly 30 businesses with fewer than 250 employees per 1,000 residents, a workforce that's growing at the second fastest rate in the country, and the 5th highest wages for new hires.
Worst: San Diego
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San Diego -- known largely for its scenery and military community -- ranks in the bottom half nationally in terms of number of small businesses per capita, small business vitality, unemployment rate, hours worked, industry variety, and cost of living. While that was enough to secure it the dubious distinction of being the 5th worst city for small business employees in 2013, San Diegans do have reason for optimism as the metropolitan area ranks 5th nationally in terms of net small business job growth over the past four years.
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