Census Bureau service provides timely updates on business startups

Florida has seen unprecedented growth during the past two years in the number of new business starts. In 2020, more than 495,000 new applications were filed to start a new business — up 26.8% from the previous year. While these were staggering numbers, the pace continued at the same robust rate in 2021. Last year, there were more than 632,000 new business applications [another 27% increase year-over-year]. 

These same trends were happening across the entire nation, with new business creation booming in most states. Peer states, like New York, California and Texas, were also experiencing tremendous growth in new businesses, but none had growth as robust as Florida. As one of our partners, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, shared last year, Florida has been the No. 1 state for new business starts for the past two years. 

The 2021 county-level data was just released June 23. The county-level numbers are also used to populate county and regional policymakers dashboards.


U.S. Census Bureau

Business applications are easier to track and compare due to the launch of a standard data product by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Business Formation Statistics data series provides timely information on new business applications and formations in the United States. There are many perks of using the BFS as a real-time indicator for tracking the business environment, including that it is available at the national, regional, and state levels. However, the strongest asset of the data series is that it is available weekly, meaning you can regularly track where your state is compared to the previous year.

FL new businesses

Moreover, the data series tracks different types of applications. The overall application number is benchmarked against high-propensity applications. This group includes those that are from some key industry sectors, corporations, those with planned wages, and those that are hiring. All of the other sub-types of business applications are included in the overall business applications number. Examining it this way confirms that the majority of business growth is in those that are going into business for themselves as a non-employer or a sole proprietorship. The overall business number for our state reflects that trend as well — 2.4 million of 2.8 million businesses are non-employers. 

BFS are also available by county, but not in real time. The 2021 county-level data was just released June 23. The county-level numbers are also used to populate county and regional policymakers dashboards.

Last year, aspiring entrepreneurs were about 19% of the Florida SBDC Network’s clients, and startups [those in business less than three years] were about 30% of its clients. To some, that market segment distribution of clients may be surprising. After all, established businesses have been dealing with various external pressures like the pandemic, rising operating costs, supply chain and labor shortages, and now inflation. However, the flip side of the Great Resignation has been that advancing technology and cultural shifts in work-life balance have fostered a fertile ground for aspiring entrepreneurs. Ultimately, this means that the demand for Florida SBDC Network services is extremely high from all market segments of businesses and will likely continue to be throughout the year. 

Pulling together this data for the network, the Florida small business community and our partners through dashboards can provide a variety of insightful relationships, including where growth is happening most in earnest, how industries are growing throughout the state and how marketing teams can target these new entities most effectively. Florida might rank third in population, but it is proving to be No. 1 for businesses.


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