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Investigating the Mystery of the Jump in Startup Applications

When unemployment rose in the pandemic, many people applied to start businesses. But why?

When the coronavirus pandemic caused the deepest recession ever recorded in the U.S., something surprising happened: The Census Bureau reported a sharp increase in applications to start businesses. But why?

One intriguing possibility is that necessity has been the mother of invention—people who lost their jobs are trying to make some money on their own as instant entrepreneurs. Starting a business in hard times isn’t necessarily a recipe for disaster. The Founder Institute observes that Airbnb was founded in August 2008 and WhatsApp was released in January 2009, when the U.S. was in recession (though most of the 20-plus companies on this list weren’t actually founded during downturns).