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    15 Cities With the Largest Increase in New Business Applications Since COVID-19

    Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

    Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Self.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on small businesses, which are estimated to employ nearly half of all American workers. A recent Federal Reserve Bank study noted that the pandemic caused an additional 200,000 businesses to close their doors last year, with small businesses comprising the bulk of the difference.

    However, it hasn’t been all bad news for the nation’s small businesses. A real-time survey of business applications conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau offers encouraging results: the increase in business shutdowns combined with changes in consumer preferences created gaps for new entrants to fill, resulting in a strong resurgence of new businesses.

    From 2019 to 2020, there was a nearly 25% increase in new business applications, and that increase held relatively steady through 2021. About one-third of current applications are considered “high-propensity applications,” or those with a high likelihood of turning into a business with payroll.

    The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau. To determine the locations with the largest increase in new business applications since the pandemic, researchers calculated the percentage change in new business applications from 2019 to 2020. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher total change in business applications from 2019 to 2020 was ranked higher.

    Here are the metropolitan areas with the largest increase in new business applications since the start of the pandemic.

    15. Jacksonville, FL

    Jacksonville, Florida
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +31.8%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +7,537

    Total business applications in 2020: 31,202

    Total business application in 2019: 23,665

    14. Fresno, CA

    Fresno California
    stellamc / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +32.1%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +1,782

    Total business applications in 2020: 7,332

    Total business application in 2019: 5,550

    13. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

    Aurora Illinois
    Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +32.2%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +10,944

    Total business applications in 2020: 44,887

    Total business application in 2019: 33,943

    12. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

    Philadelphia
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +33.4%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +25,103

    Total business applications in 2020: 100,265

    Total business application in 2019: 75,162

    11. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

    Statue of King Neptune in Virginia Beach
    JoMo333 / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +35.0%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +6,683

    Total business applications in 2020: 25,783

    Total business application in 2019: 19,100

    10. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

    Birmingham, Alabama
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +35.3%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +4,070

    Total business applications in 2020: 15,593

    Total business application in 2019: 11,523

    9. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

    Charlotte North Carolina
    Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +35.3%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +11,879

    Total business applications in 2020: 45,487

    Total business application in 2019: 33,608

    8. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

    Houston, Texas
    Nate Hovee / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +37.4%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +32,185

    Total business applications in 2020: 118,183

    Total business application in 2019: 85,998

    7. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    f11photo / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +37.6%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +5,773

    Total business applications in 2020: 21,127

    Total business application in 2019: 15,354

    6. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

    Aerial view of downtown Detroit
    Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +48.9%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +26,947

    Total business applications in 2020: 82,098

    Total business application in 2019: 55,151

    5. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

    DuSable bridge at twilight, Chicago.
    Oleg Podzorov / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +49.7%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +51,394

    Total business applications in 2020: 154,758

    Total business application in 2019: 103,364

    4. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

    Cleveland, Ohio
    Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +54.5%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +11,302

    Total business applications in 2020: 32,045

    Total business application in 2019: 20,743

    3. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

    stormy sky in New Orleans, Louisiana
    GJGK Photography / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +55.6%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +10,659

    Total business applications in 2020: 29,830

    Total business application in 2019: 19,171

    2. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

    Atlanta skyline
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +56.8%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +73,365

    Total business applications in 2020: 202,603

    Total business application in 2019: 129,238

    1. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

    Memphis Tennessee
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

    Percentage change in business applications (2019-2020): +77.7%

    Total change in business applications (2019-2020): +11,554

    Total business applications in 2020: 26,431

    Total business application in 2019: 14,877

    Methodology

    Data entry on a laptop
    baranq / Shutterstock.com

    The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics. To determine the locations with the largest increase in new business applications since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers calculated the percentage change in business applications from 2019 to 2020.

    In the event of a tie, the location with the higher total change in business applications from 2019 to 2020 was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included.

    Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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