If the U.S. jobs data released on the first Friday of every month is starting to sound like a broken record, it's because records continue to be broken.

The American economy added 267,000 private-sector jobs in January. That's 59 straight months of consecutive job growth, the longest streak on record by a mile. Our last three months of job growth represent the most job growth in 17 years. Small businesses have been at the forefront of our ongoing expansion, accounting for 81 percent of the net new jobs in January, according to ADP data, which is higher than the historical two-thirds job-creation rate of small firms.

Small businesses are also creating opportunities for two important segments of the labor market that have historically struggled: younger workers and immigrants.

At its peak, youth unemployment reached 27 percent during the recession -- the highest in the 66 years that the federal government has kept track. Today, that number is down to 19 percent, a significant decline but still three times the national rate.

Meanwhile, foreign-born workers have similar unemployment rates as native-born workers, but they are paid 20-percent less. Immigrant-owned firms today employ one in 10 U.S. workers. Immigrant entrepreneurs are twice as likely to start a business as native-born citizens. While they account for 16 percent of the labor force nationally, immigrants make up 28 percent of Main Street Business owners. Immigrants represent 61 percent of all gas-station owners, 53 percent of grocery-store owners, 38 percent of restaurant owners, and 32 percent of jewelry-store and clothing-store owners, according to a recent nonpartisan study.

 

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