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New Business Applications in the Heartland: Early 2020 Weekly Trends During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Business responses to COVID-19 are rapid and can change quickly. This brief takes a closer look at how new business applications vary by geography in four Heartland states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska) between mid-January and late May 2020.

The overall trends show that entrepreneurs respond quickly – even on a weekly basis, and sometimes sharply – to changes in the COVID-19 environment.

Featured highlights:

  • Over the 19-week period, new business applications increased by 5.34% in Missouri and declined by 19.57% in Iowa, 8.33% in Kansas, and 9.68% in Nebraska. This compares to an overall national decline of 4.81% over the same period.
  • Missouri has more new business registrations than the other three states, which is not surprising given the size of the state economy and population.
  • New business applications respond quickly, with substantial week-to-week variation that is not apparent when examining the overall trends.
  • Kansas and Missouri largely trend in the same direction with the national trend.