June 5, 2013 -- Denver ranks the best city in the U.S. for anybody looking for a job in small business. Sacramento and Riverside in California, as well as Detroit rank among the worst.
That's the finding of an analysis of 30 major U.S. metro areas by CardHub, a credit card comparison-shopping site.
Small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, employ about 47 percent of the private workforce in the U.S., pay more than 40 percent of the private payroll and are responsible for having created more than 60 percent of all new jobs added to the U.S. economy in the past 20 years.
CardHub's study used 10 different metrics to evaluate the "friendliness" of each metro area not just to small business but to seekers of small-business jobs. The metrics included net small business job growth, industry variety, hours worked and average wages for new hires.
John Kiernan, CardHub's senior analyst, believes the study to be the first one of its kind. Any number of previous studies, he says, have rated cities by their attractiveness to small business owners—entrepreneurs. But none to his knowledge has rated them from the small business job-seeker's perspective.
Statistics, says Kiernan, show that many people laid off by big companies during the recession are now looking for work at smaller companies. They are hoping, he says, to acquire skills they can use to transition to traditional jobs in bigger companies when the economy improves.
CardHub's study offers six tips for landing a small-business job. Prospecting for one, Kiernan tells ABC News, is different from going after a big business job. A lot of job seekers, he says, have gotten into the habit of sending out generic resumes in mass-mailings.
Owners of small business, he says, frequently do their own hiring; they are looking for customized resumes and cover letters that show the applicant understands a specific employer's particular needs.
Some cities, Kiernan explains, rank high on the list because local government provides special incentives or breaks favoring small business. That's true of #1-ranked Denver. It's true, too, of fifth-ranked San Francisco, which woos small business with an Emerging Business Loan fund that makes loans of $50,000 to $1 million to qualified borrowers to cover operational, staffing and other costs.
Denver has so many small businesses that they comprise 90 percent of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's membership, according to the study. Denver's small business workforce, says CardHub, is growing at the second-fastest rate of any in the country, and new hires rank fifth-highest in wages.
As for Detroit, says the study, recession bailouts went mostly to big businesses—Detroit's car companies—not to small concerns. Detroit's small business community, it says, continues to be marred by low rankings in terms of small businesses per capita (#22 out of 30) and net small business job growth (#27 out of 30).
Here is CardHub's complete ranking of 30 metro areas, from most-to-least small business friendly:
1. Denver 2. Boston 3. Minneapolis 4. Seattle 5. San Francisco 6. Houston 7. San Antonio 8. Dallas 9. Tampa 10. Kansas City 11. Miami 12. Orlando 13. St. Louis 14. Cincinnati 15. Portland 16. New York 17. Pittsburgh 18. Cleveland 19. Los Angeles 20. Baltimore 21. Atlanta 22. Washington, D.C. 23. Phoenix 24. Chicago 25. Las Vegas 26. San Diego 27. Philadelphia 28. Sacramento 29. Riverside 30. Detroit