Across the whole state, New Hampshire has seen an uptick in business applications, indicating positive economic growth, according to data from the US Census Bureau.
In terms of the sheer number of applications by county, Hillsborough County tops the chart at 4,294 business applications in 2021, a 20.3 percent increase from the previous year.
Rockingham County follows close behind with 3,533 applications in the same timeframe (16.5 percent increase). Merrimack County saw 1,384 new business applications in 2021 (22.5 percent increase), and Strafford County reported 1,093 new applications that same year (30.3 percent increase).
Other counties only report numbers in the triple digits, but positive growth was still seen statewide. Sullivan County reported 347 new applications in 2021 (7.1 percent increase), Carroll County 524 applications (9.6 percent increase), Cheshire County 625 applications (16.6 percent increase), and Grafton County 863 applications (15.5 percent increase).
The highest percentages of growth in the state belong to Belknap (719 applications) and Coos Counties (265 applications), which saw increases of 38.5 percent and 40.2 percent, respectively.
While the economic growth is something to celebrate, small-business owners are still concerned about factors that may cause them trouble down the line, such as inflation, supply chain issues, and fears of an incoming recession.
A Reimagine Main Street survey reports that “nearly half of small-business owners aren’t confident they could fund an unplanned $5,000 expense.” The survey also found that “most small-business owners have applied for a loan or other form of credit in the past 12 months.”
Additionally, “93 percent of small-business owners are worried about the US economy experiencing a recession in the next 12 months,” according to a Goldman Sachs survey.
Economists reaffirm the resilience of small-business owners in the face of negative economic factors, such as the recent pandemic, painting a hopeful picture.
In an interview with WMUR9, Amy Bassett, New Hampshire District Director of the Small Business Association (SBA), said small-business owners “face unique and big challenges on a daily basis.”
“They wear many hats and have to be really astute at adapting and foreseeing how the current and upcoming changes are going to impact their businesses,” said Bassett. “And during my time at the SBA, I’ve been really impressed with the resiliency and the commitment that small-business owners have to their businesses as well as their employees.”
In the same interview, SBA Regional Administrator of New England and New Hampshire resident Michael Vlacich noted that every job lost due to the pandemic has returned as well as the programs and policies small businesses utilized to get back on their feet, such as $5 billion investment in New Hampshire for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and the newly passed Infrastructure Reduction Act.
New Hampshire so far has weathered the storm and seen an upward trend of business growth, and hopefully the state will continue seeing economic prosperity.