Calculated Risk had a nice graph in a post about small businesses' hiring plans. The graph is here. An interesting tidbit is given by Bill McBride in his last paragraph
Small businesses have a larger percentage of real estate and retail related companies than the overall economy. With the high percentage of real estate (including small construction companies), I expect small business hiring to be slow to recover in this cycle.The difference in recession types(e.g. 00's construction vs. 90's internet) should provide a "nice" variation to look at the behavior of firms depending on their size. If a recession affects a sector where firms are large, is the recovery stronger and faster? Moreover, if we think that large firms are more linked to the performance of international markets and the health of foreign countries, what is the impact of more globalization(in the sense of a multi-country production process(vertical), or multi-country distribution network(horizontal)) on the shape of the recoveries?
Related, a paper by Pagano and Schivardi looked at firm size by sectors in Europe. Their finding was that
The ranking of sectors is as expected, with light manufacturing, services and construction characterized by a small average size, chemical, petroleum, ﬁnance and transportation equipment at the other extreme and food and trade around the average value.
[T]he same sector can be characterized by very diﬀerent size structures in diﬀerent countries(...) [W]e ﬁnd that the sectors that have a most disperse size structure across our set of countries are Hotels & Restaurants, Wood, Construction and Trade. Quite interestingly, all these sectors are non-manufacturing, which suggests that in manufacturing technological factors have a stronger role in determining optimal scale
It's a shame that this paper had no graphs...