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California's smallest businesses — those without any employees — took a big hit during the state's Great Recession, but appear to have recovered, according to a new Census Bureau report.

The number of such businesses — self-employed consultants, technicians, landscapers, remodelers, etc., and small partnerships — dropped and so did their revenues when recession hit, bottoming out in 2009 at 2.7 million firms and $133.8 billion in revenue.

Since then, the Census Bureau data indicate, the number of California's no-employee businesses climbed to 2.9 million in 2012 and their receipts reached $149.4 billion, moving past pre-recession levels. That was an average of $51,517 per business.

Both numbers were the highest of any state and among the nation's counties, Los Angeles had the nation's highest number at 17,241 and the highest revenues at $47.2 billion.

California's gain of 39,051 such businesses from 2011 to 2012 was the second highest of any state, surpassed only by Florida's 57,978.

PHOTO: Dean Sims of El Dorado Hills shops at the Cresco restaurant supply store in December 2013. Cresco and the cluster of nearby establishments, believed to be the largest group of such businesses in California, do business with restaurant owners, managers, designers, contractors and chefs from Fresno to the Oregon border. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton



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