About the Industry

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Salon Industry Snapshot:

The salon and spa industry is a vibrant and growing component of the U.S. economy, with more than 900,000 total establishments and annual sales of nearly $40 billion.

Salon Establishments w/ Payroll Employees

2009 Establishments 88,876
2009 Sales $21.2 billion

Non-Employer Salon Establishments*

2008 Establishments 824,119
2008 Sales $18.8 billion


The salon and spa industry registered steady growth over the last decade, with the strongest gains seen in the non-employer sector. The number of non-employer salon and spa establishments increased 72 percent in the last decade, while their sales jumped 116 percent. In comparison, the number of employment-based salon and spa establishments increased 11 percent over the last decade, with their sales rising 47 percent.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau; 2008/2009 figures

The Salon and Spa Industry Outperformed the Overall Private Sector During the Recession
The Great Recession of the late 2000s took a tremendous toll on the nation’s private sector. At the depth of the recession, the national economy was losing tens of thousands of businesses each quarter. Between the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009, the national economy experienced a net loss of more than 92,000 private-sector business establishments – a decline of one percent.

In comparison, the nation’s salon and spa industry performed relatively well during the recession. Although growth in the number of employment-based salons and spas slowed during the recession and briefly turned negative, the declines were much less severe than the overall private sector. Between the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009, the salon and spa industry experienced a net decline of only 130 establishments – or just 0.1 percent.

The Salon and Spa Industry Provided Much Needed Job Growth During the Lost Decade
One only has to look at recent history to see that the salon and spa industry is an engine of job growth for the U.S. economy, even when many other industries are shedding jobs. During the challenging economic period of the last 11 years that included two recessions, job growth in the U.S. economy stagnated. In fact, there were 1.6 million fewer private sector jobs in the economy in March 2011 than there were in January 2000 – a decline of 1.5 percent.

In contrast, employment-based salons and spas added 75,000 jobs during the same period, which represented an increase of more than 18 percent. This substantial growth occurred despite back-to-back job losses in 2009 and 2010, when the salon industry was negatively impacted by the recession. Overall, salon industry job growth outperformed the overall economy in nine of the last 11 years.

The Salon and Spa Industry is Projected to Post Steady Job Growth in the Future
Not only did the salon and spa industry provide much needed job growth during the sluggish last decade, it is poised to post steady growth well into the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of personal appearance jobs is projected to jump 31 percent between 2008 and 2018, nearly three times the rate of growth of total U.S. employment (11 percent) during the same period.

All of the major personal appearance occupations are projected to post job growth stronger than the overall economy between 2008 and 2018. The number of skin care specialist jobs is projected to jump 51 percent, while hairdresser, hairstylist and cosmetologist positions are expected to increase by 31 percent.

One Out of Three Salon-Industry Professionals is Self-Employed
Overall, more than 1.1 million professionals work in personal appearance occupations in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Individuals in these occupations have a much higher rate of self-employment, as compared to the overall workforce.

Thirty-three percent of all individuals in personal appearance occupations are self-employed. In comparison, only seven percent of the overall U.S. workforce is self-employed.

Of the 770,000 Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists, 35 percent (or 267,000) are self-employed.

Barbers have the highest proportion of self-employed individuals, at 54 percent.

The Salon and Spa Industry Provides Career Opportunities for Individuals of All Backgrounds
The nation’s salon and spa industry provides first jobs and career opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds, and has a broader representation of women and minorities than the overall U.S. workforce.

Eighty-four percent of individuals in personal appearance occupations are women, compared to 47 percent of employed individuals in the overall U.S. workforce.

Twelve percent of individuals in personal appearance occupations are Black or African American, compared to a national average of 11 percent.

Sixteen percent of individuals in personal appearance occupations are Asian, compared to just five percent of the overall U.S. workforce.

Twelve percent of individuals in personal appearance occupations are of Hispanic origin, slightly below the national average of 14 percent.

The Salon and Spa Industry Provides a Path to Ownership Opportunities
Not only do salons and spas provide employment opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds, they also give individuals the experience to own businesses of their own.

Sixty-one percent of salon businesses are owned by women, compared to just 30 percent of businesses in the overall private sector.

Twenty-one percent of businesses in the salon industry are Black or African-American-owned, versus just seven percent of total private sector businesses.

Seventeen percent of salon businesses are Asian-owned, nearly three times the six percent Asian-ownership rate for businesses in the overall private sector.

Nine percent of salon businesses are owned by individuals of Hispanic origin, matching the proportion of Hispanic business ownership in the overall private sector.

The facts and figures above were provided by the Professional Beauty Association (PBA).

To see the full report along with charts and graphs download the PDF here.

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