A record number of new businesses are being created in the U.S. as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes and the economy reopens. The pace of applications for new businesses from the second half of 2020 through May 2021 marks the greatest on record dating back to 2004, according to a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Many of the new businesses were concentrated in the non-store retail sector, which includes e-commerce, truck transportation, and accommodation and food services. 

New business applications declined early in the pandemic but rebounded by summer of 2020. John Haltiwanger, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland and the author of the report, attributes that surge to Americans having more time on their hands with much of the economy under pandemic-related restrictions and fewer opportunities to socialize.

“I suppose it’s not surprising — a lot of people were…

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