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Press Release

NYCEDC Announces Record Breaking Number of Small Businesses Under the Adams Administration in New Report

May 29 2024
A group of people walk past storefronts, including a gift shop and a clothing store, on Bleecker Street with brick buildings and fire escapes.

One in Three Small Businesses in NYC Started in the Last Two Years

Small Business Growth is Strongest in Outer Boroughs, with North Brooklyn Leading in Recovery, Adding 1,000 Small Businesses

Effort Builds on Mayor Adams’ “Spring Jobs Sprint” to Advance Opportunities for Thousands of Jobs Over the Coming Weeks

NEW YORK, NY—As Small Business Month comes to a close, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced that New York City has more small businesses than ever recorded in city history at 183,000, and released a new report, NYC’s Small Business Recovery: Patterns of Growth in a Changing Economy. The report highlights key trends in small business growth and recovery across New York City since the start of the Adams Administration. This report comes as the city reaches a new private sector job high, with the lowest unemployment rate since August 2022 and the lowest Black unemployment rate since before the pandemic. Recently, Mayor Adams has kicked off a “Spring Jobs Sprint” to advance opportunities for thousands of new jobs over the coming weeks.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • New York City currently has more small businesses than ever recorded. As of 2023, there were 183,000 small businesses across the city, over 1,000 more than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Entrepreneurship is thriving across the city. In the eight most recent quarters (Q4 2021 to Q3 2023), 62,000 small businesses were started, which is one in three of all small businesses currently operating in the city. This formation is significantly higher than the 52,000 businesses started in 2018 and 2019.
  • While new business formation remains concentrated in central business districts, including Midtown Manhattan, net business growth has been strongest in the outer boroughs. North Brooklyn continues to lead the city’s small business recovery, adding 1,000 small businesses since 2019.
  • Despite growth in the number of small businesses across the city, small business employment remains below pre-pandemic levels, in part due to an increase in sole proprietorships.

“We came into office with a clear mission to protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make our city more livable for everyday New Yorkers—and nothing could be more central to all three than New York City’s world-renowned small business community,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Now, with more small businesses than ever before in the city’s history, we’re seeing the direct impacts of changes we made early in this administration that made it easier to open and operate a small business in New York City. When small businesses thrive, we all thrive. We will continue to support the growth and development of the small businesses that give our city its character and drive our economy.”

“I am thrilled that we now have a record number of small businesses in this city. This milestone is a testament to this Administration’s efforts to make it easier for small businesses to start, grow, and thrive in the city is paying off and a great way to cap off Small Business Month,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development & Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “As the city’s dynamic small business community continues to evolve, we will stay laser-focused on both supporting their growth and connecting them to local talent.”

“Small Businesses are the backbone to New York City’s economy and this report illustrates just that, while highlighting the evolution we have seen with our small businesses in a post-pandemic environment,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “Hitting an all-time high for small businesses and seeing continued growth in the outer boroughs in particular, demonstrates the resiliency of New Yorkers and our entrepreneurial spirit. At EDC we will continue to work with our partners at the Small Business Services and across city government to continue to help foster the growth of small businesses throughout New York City.”

“Today's report from NYC EDC confirms what we've known all along: New York City is back,” said NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “We are witnessing record numbers of employment and robust business formation, in part due to the investments our administration has made in the city's entrepreneurs, workforce, and commercial corridors. Thanks to the hard work and strong partnerships between government, communities and the private sector, business is booming.”

Data collection and analysis is done by NYCEDC’s Economic Research & Policy team. According to NYCEDC analysis, a small business is defined as one with fewer than 50 full- or part-time employees, based on tax records filed with the New York State Department of Labor. The report classified businesses that report a single employee as sole proprietors but does not include the entirety of freelancers and gig workers and only includes individuals that are paying into the unemployment compensation system.

Last month, Mayor Adams launched “Run This Town,” a multi-media advertising campaign to engage diverse New Yorkers and help them apply for thousands of available city government jobs. The announcement follows the launch of “Jobs NYC,” a multi-pronged citywide effort to reduce barriers to economic opportunities and deliver workforce development services directly to communities across the five boroughs that are experiencing high unemployment. Both campaigns are expected to further reduce the unacceptable disparities in employment between Black, Latino, and white communities. The Adams administration continues to host hiring halls to bring both public- and private-sector job opportunities to neighborhoods across the five boroughs on a monthly basis.

Recently, Mayor Adams was joined by New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to announce an agreement to transform the Brooklyn Marine Terminal into a modern maritime port and vibrant mixed-use community hub, with the potential to create thousands of jobs. The project also builds on generational and forward-looking projects across all five boroughs that Mayor Adams has advanced over the past two years, including Willets Point in Queens, Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, the Climate Innovation Hub in Brooklyn, the SPARC Kips Bay life sciences hub in Manhattan, and the New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island, among others.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity, build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city's future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.