Utah's rising business applications point to economic optimism
New business applications rose in Utah's cities in 2022, per new Census Bureau and IRS data, Kavya Beheraj and Alex Fitzpatrick report.
Why it matters: New business applications are an important measure of an area's perceived economic health. If lots of people are trying to start new companies in a given city, it's a sign that they're bullish on the area's prospects.
- The word "startup" tends to evoke buzzy Silicon Valley tech ventures. But young companies of all stripes, from stores and restaurants to software and manufacturing firms, play a big economic role.
- As of 2021, more than 66.7 million Americans worked for companies with fewer than 100 employees, and those companies posted nearly $3.6 trillion in annual payroll, per census data.
By the numbers: With 19.1 applications per 1,000 residents in 2022, Salt Lake ranked 22nd among 108 metro areas with more than 500,000 people.
- Provo-Orem ranked 6th with 23.2, and Ogden-Clearfield came in at No. 50.
- But with a 4.4% increase in applications since 2021, Ogden-Clearfield saw the nation's sixth biggest growth.
The big picture: Just over 5 million new business applications were filed nationwide in 2022, or 15.1 for every 1,000 residents.
- That's down about 6.6% from 2021, when nearly 5.4 million applications were filed nationwide, or 16.2 for every 1,000 residents.
Zoom out: Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach (40.9), Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Roswell (31.3) and Orlando/Kissimmee/Sanford (28.7) took the top spots for major metro areas as ranked by new business applications per 1,000 residents in 2022.
- Zoom in: The only area outside the Southeast making the top 10: Provo/Orem, Utah, at 23.2.
Of note: Parts of the Mountain West also had strong showings — the greater Denver area came in at 21.6, for instance.
Between the lines: Many of the hottest spots for new business applications also have booming populations.
- That makes sense, as economic growth and population increases tend to go hand in hand.
Yes, but: A filed application is no guarantee of a healthy, thriving business to follow — but at the very least it's a sign of economic optimism.
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