Jan 29, 2024 - News

The number of businesses formed in North Carolina continues to grow

Change in new business applications
Data: Census Bureau; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Unlike most of the Southeast, North Carolina is still seeing an uptick in new businesses.

By the numbers: New business applications — which represent all types of businesses, from landscaping to software — increased by 6.5% last year, up to 14,400.

  • While the number is up year-over-year, it is still slightly below the peak that North Carolina experienced in 2021.

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.

Yes, but: New business applications can only capture the financial mood among Americans with the means to start a company.

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

  • Still, even when looking only at businesses that the Census Bureau identifies as having a high chance of employing people, new business applications were up 5.7% in North Carolina between December 2022 and December 2023.
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