While openings of a major department store or a branch of a big-box chain are often welcomed by shoppers and communities, they are also the cause of some concern. Small local businesses face greater competition, yet those small businesses are an outsized engine of economic growth. Additionally, they are important distinguishing features in local communities. That’s why today is Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. In 2012, there were nearly 28 million business firms in the U.S., but only 5.4 million of them had paid employees. In that group, over 2.7 million — about half — were enterprises having four or fewer employees. Almost 10 million of America’s business enterprises, are women-owned. You can find current data on the country’s economy by downloading the ‘America’s Economy’ mobile application at <www.census.gov/mobile>.