by the numbers
Report: Houston sees huge jump in new businesses amid the pandemic
By one measure, Houston could be considered the startup capital of Texas.
A new study by personal finance website LendingTree shows the Houston metro area experienced a 37.4 percent jump in new-business applications from 2019 to 2020. That was the highest growth rate among Texas’ six biggest metro areas and the 20th highest growth rate among the 100 U.S. metro areas with the most new-business applications in 2020.
In 2019, the Houston area racked up 85,998 new-business applications, according to U.S. Census Bureau data cited by LendingTree. A year later, the number of applications in the region soared to 118,183. The data measures applications for nine-digit employer identification numbers (EINs), which the IRS uses to track businesses for tax purposes. An EIN is similar to a person’s Social Security number.
“The pandemic has created so much financial chaos for so many people, and that uncertainty surely spurred many Americans to take the plunge,” says Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree.
“Some folks did it out of necessity because of income or job losses,” he adds. “Some folks did it to feel more secure, as the idea of relying on one source of income just didn’t make sense anymore for a lot of people. Others likely did it because they’d wanted to for years but never felt the time was right.”
Across the U.S., the retail sector witnessed the heftiest increase (59.7 percent) in new-business applications from 2019 to 2020.
“So many companies have made it so easy to sell online that people feel good about taking the plunge,” Schulz says. “Setting up an online store is generally simpler, quicker and less expensive than ever, so the barriers to entry that once scared potential entrepreneurs away from opening a new store aren’t the obstacles that they once were.”
Memphis, Tennessee, topped the LendingTree list. The metro area saw a 77.9 rise in new-business applications from 2019 to 2020.
Elsewhere in Texas:
- Dallas ranked 37th nationally and second in Texas, with a 29 percent increase in new-business applications.
- San Antonio ranked 62nd nationally and third in Texas, with an 18 percent increase in new-business applications.
- McAllen ranked 77th nationally and fourth in Texas, with a 13.3 percent increase in new-business applications.
- Austin ranked 78th nationally and fifth in Texas, with a 13.2 percent increase in new-business applications.
- El Paso ranked 79th nationally and sixth in Texas, with an 11.9 percent increase in new-business applications.