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Madison Schneider (shown with her Grandma Lela) opened Lela's Bakery and Coffeehouse in Haviland, Kan., on Sept. 12. Photo via Facebook

The pandemic closed hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses. But now applications for new businesses are rising at the fastest rate since 2007, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: "Applications for the employer identification numbers that entrepreneurs need to start a business have passed 3.2 million so far this year, compared with 2.7 million at the same point in 2019," according to the Census Bureau.

  • Even excluding gig-economy workers and independent contractors, "new filings among a subset of business owners who tend to employ other workers reached 1.1 million through mid-September, a 12% increase over the same period last year and the most since 2007."

What's happening: "Spending is picking up as cities and states lift restrictions on everything from restaurants to retailers, leading to a rush of activity that had been on hold," The Journal reports.

  • At the same time, the virus has led to a sustained shift in consumer behavior: "That has wiped out revenue streams for existing businesses, but also opened up new markets for upstarts."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Dec 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

The inequality is getting harder to ignore

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the frenzy in IPOs and the overall stock market continues, data show overall consumer confidence is languishing and concern about income inequality is rising.

Driving the news: A new survey from research and data firm CivicScience provided exclusively to Axios shows 78% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about the rising level of inequality in the U.S. and 48% are very concerned.

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.

Supreme Court declines to hear case on qualified immunity for police officers

The Supreme Court on March 5. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal for a lawsuit brought against Cleveland police officers that challenges the scope of qualified immunity, the legal doctrine which has been used to shield officers from lawsuits alleging excessive force, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The doctrine has been the subject of scrutiny from civil rights advocates. Eliminating qualified immunity was one of the key demands of demonstrators during nationwide protests in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd.