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RCB_Real_Estate_Agent_2009.JPGCalifornia's smallest businesses - those without any employees - saw sharp reductions in their incomes when recession hit the state a half-decade ago, but they have since rebounded, a new Census Bureau report indicates.

The number of those no-worker businesses - essentially one-person operations - remained stable during the recession at 2.7 million to 2.8 million, but their receipts declined from $144.5 billion in 2007 to as low as $133.9 billion two years later before beginning to recover. By 2011, the last year for which data are available, there were 2.9 million such businesses and receipts had climbed to $143.8 billion, an average of nearly $50,000 each.

The largest single category of California businesses without employees is "professional, scientific and technical services" - in essence, contract consultants. The Census Bureau counted 501,688 of those "nonemployers," as it calls them, in 2011. They took in just under $24 billion or an average of about $48,000 each. However, the 299,602 one-person operations in real estate garnered $33.4 billion in receipts for an average of more than $111,000 each.

PHOTO CREDIT: A Sacramento real estate agent drops off fliers in hopes of meeting future home buyers or sellers. Renée C. Byer / Sacramento Bee file, 2009



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