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Number of women-owned businesses in N.J. up almost 50 percent since 1997

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The number of women-owned businesses in the state has jumped nearly 50 percent in the past 17 years, according to the fourth annual State of Women-Owned Business Report released by American Express OPEN this week.

This year, the report estimates there will be roughly 230,800 businesses in the state in which women are the majority owners. Those businesses will employ 259,200 people and are expected to bring in revenues of $44.5 million.

Nationwide, the growth in women-owned businesses is even more pronounced, according to the report prepared by Womenable, a research, program and policy development consultancy.

The report found that women in the U.S. are starting 1,288 businesses every day. That's double the rate from three years ago.

Overall, the number of women-owned businesses has shot up to 9.1 million — a 68 percent increase since 1997. Those businesses have increased their revenues by 72 percent (generating more than $1.4 trillion), and they have added 11 percent more jobs.

RELATED: Breaking Glass, the NJBIZ women in business blog

"The report clearly shows that women are choosing the path of entrepreneurship at record rates," Randi Schochet, vice president of brand strategy and activation for American Express OPEN, said in a statement. "Imagine the economic impact if more of these new ventures were transformed into thriving businesses."

Compared to the nationwide numbers, New Jersey's increase is significant and ranks the state 26th out of all 50 states when it comes to states with the fastest growth among women-owned businesses.

The top five states were Georgia (with a 118 percent increase since 1997), Texas (98 percent), North Carolina (91 percent), Nevada (91 percent) and Mississippi (81 percent).

At the bottom of the list were Vermont (with a 30 percent increase since 1997), Kansas (30 percent), Iowa (23 percent), West Virginia (23 percent) and Alaska (11 percent).

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