We've done a lot of work looking at Barbell Industrial Structures.
These industry structures consist of a relatively few giant corporations on one end, a narrow middle consisting of a shrinking number of mid-sized firms, and a large and growing number of small, micro and one person (solopreneur) firms on the other end.
Almost all of the industries we've studied exhibit the Barbell Industrial Structure. Examples include beer, news and information, software, accounting, movies, consumer products, most industrial markets and many more.
Our research has focused on industry revenue, profitability and market share. But a recent look at employment data by firm size shows the same trend.
The chart below, taken from data from the Small Business Administration, shows the number of large firms and non-employers (solopreneurs) have grown much faster than small (less than 500 employees) and mid-sized firms (500 to 10,000 employees).
This data shows the growth rate in the number of firms by size, which is just one indicator of industry structure. But taken with our work on industry revenue, profitability and market shares it provides confirmation that Barbell Industry Structures are increasingly common - and becoming more pronounced.
It also helps confirm our view that Barbell Industry Structures will continue to be the dominate form industries take for at least next decade, and likely much longer.
The Intuit Future of Small Business report The New Entrepreneurial Economy covers Barbell Industry Structures in more detail, including implications for small businesses.