Small employers are big news around the nation's capital these days.

According to the Small Business Administration, businesses with fewer than 500 employees make up nearly all employer firms in the District of Columbia -- a full 25,600, or 93.4%, of all 27,424 businesses with employees in 2004. Together, they employ about half the region's workforce, SBA figures show.

As the Washington Post points out today, these neighborhood stores, family shops, day spas, builders and bookstores are driving unprecedented economic growth in the region by doing the "heavy lifting of creating jobs and revenue," rather than big corporations.

How? Despite calls for smaller government and ongoing cuts to the SBA budget, these local firms have directly benefited from more bureaucracy, according to Chad Moutray of the SBA's Office of Advocacy: "As the government gets larger, certain areas of the economy flourish and continue to attract jobs here," Moutray tells the Post.