Black American Government Contractors Excelled in IT Related Industries

This article examines small businesses owned by African-Americans who were contractors to the federal government. An analysis of contracting activity with the federal government indicates that Black American business owners were most successful in internet publishing and telecom related industries.

In total, there were 7264 black-owned businesses register with the federal government in 2008; they employed a total of 76,399 workers. The value of total prime contracting awards they received from the government was $1.6 billion and the average value of a government contract was $2.43 million.

Although just 5.3% of African-American businesses were in Internet publishing and telecom industries, those businesses accounted for 31.4% ($502.2 million) of the total value of government contracts awarded to black-owned companies.

The largest concentration of African-American contractors was in professional, scientific and technical service industries; 41.2%. In comparison, 17.2% ($275.6 million) of government revenue was generated in that industry.

After professional, scientific and technical service industries, African-Americans were the most concentrated in the following industries: 29.9% were in construction related industries including the following: 16.4% were in construction of buildings; 10.7% were in specialty trades contracting; and 2.8% were in heavy construction and civil engineering.

Professional, scientific and technical service industries also accounted for the largest share of employment among African-American businesses. Specifically, 26,284 employees or 34.4% of all workers in African-American owned businesses were employed in related industries. The second-largest industry was construction of buildings, which accounted for 16.4 19.6% or 14,997 workers. This was followed by Internet publishing and telecommunications, 10.3% (7875 workers); specialty trades contracting, 9.4% (7198 workers); and computer and electronic manufacturing, 4.7% (3581 workers).