By Safiyah Riddle
(Reuters) – Applications to start new U.S. businesses surged to the highest level in two years in June, despite high interest rates and uncertain economic outlook, according to a Commerce Department report released on Monday.
Business applications increased 6.2% in June compared with May with a seasonally adjusted 465,906 new applications.
Filings from applicants that have a high likelihood of creating a payroll and adding jobs to the economy, such as those from existing corporate entities or those indicating they are already hiring, rose 6.0% to 149,536 new applications. The data is collected from business applications for tax identification numbers.
Start-up activity flourished during the coronavirus pandemic with the help of historic stimulus money from the federal government and ultra-low interest rates, hitting a record high in July 2020 and remaining well above pre-pandemic levels since then. They slowed somewhat last year as the Federal Reserve kicked off aggressive interest rate hikes to lower inflation, but have been climbing again this year.
June’s resurgence emphasizes growing optimism among small businesses inspired by the Fed’s recent pause in rate hikes, as well as the growing expectation that the central bank’s aggressive rate hiking strategy is nearing an end.
The report’s forward-looking business formation projections also improved after two months of declines. The Census Bureau estimated that 32,148 new business startups with payroll tax liabilities will actually form within four quarters of application, a 4% increase compared to estimates from May.
(Reporting by Safiyah Riddle; Editing by Josie Kao)