New data show that although the gap appears to be narrowing, black entrepreneurs still trail whites, as well as other minorities, by a wide margin when it comes to business ownership.

In 2014, blacks owned just 2 percent of U.S. companies​, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Census Bureau data.

The new report leaves out the self-employed, focusing on the more than 5 million U.S. firms with at least one paid employee. Less than a million of those firms are minority-owned, and just over 108,000 have black owners--despite blacks representing 12 percent of the country's total population. The minority groups with the largest number of business owners are Asians (just over half a million companies) and Hispanics (almost 300,000).

Encouragingly, it seems that the number of black business owners is on the rise since the end of the recession. Black-owned businesses represent 3.3 percent of the total number of firms younger than two years old, WSJ reports.

Yet black-owned companies averaged lower sales than those with white, Asian, and Hispanic owners.

"Black businesses, even though they have been growing, have lagged behind the growth of other groups," Georgia Institute of Technology economics professor Thomas Boston told the Journal.

Published on: Sep 1, 2016