Worker shortages that are slowing the recovery from the COVID-19 recession largely have been blamed on generous unemployment benefits and people caring for kids and sick relatives.

But there’s another reason companies are struggling to find workers to meet a historic boom in customer demand: Many Americans have started their own businesses.

Entrepreneurs have filed applications to launch firms at a record pace since last summer, and the startup frenzy has accelerated this year. Many of the budding business owners lost jobs because of the pandemic and are looking for new ways to generate income.

Others are drawing on government stimulus checks and soaring home values to fulfill lifelong dreams and make the most of a revived economy that’s expected to usher in the fastest growth in decades as consumers return to dining out, traveling and other activities.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics
Demand in the economy has…

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