Jan 22, 2024 - News

Fewer new businesses formed in Florida in 2023

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

New business applications across Florida fell 3% between December 2022 and December 2023, seasonally adjusted Census Bureau data shows.

Why it matters: Business formation rates are an excellent indicator of economic sentiment — few people try to start a company when they foresee bad times ahead.

  • Breaking down this data state by state can offer a regionalized barometer of economic sentiment, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Alice Feng write.

By the numbers: Florida received over 30,000 new business applications in January 2019. This figure swelled to 55,995 in December 2022 before dipping to 52,677 last December.

  • Meanwhile, Colorado (+115%), North Dakota (+37.7%) and Iowa (+33.7%) had the highest year-over-year change in new business applications between December 2022 and December 2023.

Yes, but: Gov. Ron DeSantis remains bullish about Florida's economic standing. Earlier this month, he touted that the state is "No. 1 in new business formations."

  • Florida did have more business applications than any state last year, with 667,031. But his claim overlooks the fact that Florida is the third-most populous state.
  • More people, more business opportunities: California and Texas, the other most populous states, ranked second and third for total applications.

What's more: New business applications can only capture the financial mood among Americans with the means to start a company.

  • Those less well-off likely have a less rosy view of things.
  • Many younger Americans, for example, are stressed out about their finances, while renters are much more likely to say they're in bad financial shape compared to homeowners, per recent findings from our ongoing Axios Vibes/Harris Poll surveys.

Plus: Just because somebody files paperwork to start a business doesn't mean that enterprise ever gets off the ground and hires people.

  • Still, when looking only at businesses that the Census Bureau identifies as having a high chance of employing people, new business applications were up 10.3% nationally between December 2022 and December 2023.

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