The overall number of business establishments in Whatcom County was contracting in the early stages of this economic downturn, according to a new federal report.
The U.S. Census estimates the number of private sector businesses that had at least one paid employee totaled 6,281 in 2009, down from 6,433 establishments in 2008 and 6,519 establishments in 2007. However, the 2009 total is more than five years earlier, when this area had 5,950 establishments.
The majority of Whatcom County establishments — 3,599 — had between one and four employees, while another 1,252 businesses had between five and nine employees in 2009, according to the report. In the 10-99 employee category, Whatcom County had 1,331 establishments in 2009, while this area had 99 firms with more than 100 employees.
Most of the establishments that disappeared between 2007 and 2009 had less than five employees.
The Whatcom County industry with the most establishments in 2009 was construction, with 889. That’s down from 1,084 establishments in 2007.
With 828 establishments, retail trade had the second highest number of establishments in 2009, followed by professional services (679 establishments), health care (643) and food service/accommodation (504).