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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.

12 mins ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.