Despite COVID challenges, small businesses are thriving in North Dakota

North Dakota is one of several states where entrepreneurs found opportunities and small businesses there are at pre-pandemic levels.

Wednesday, October 6th 2021 in Economy by Mitch Alborn
Despite COVID challenges, small businesses are thriving in North Dakota

North Dakota has seen a boom in small businesses which were opened shortly before or during the pandemic, even while COVID-19 is still a challenge.

According to an employee of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Bismarck office, more than 98% are small businesses. This means that they employ less than 500 people.

FOX Business' Connell McShane interviewed two North Dakota small-business owners who were resilient and saw their businesses prosper during the pandemic.

He said that North Dakota's inability to shut down completely due to COVID-19 was a contributing factor.

The North Dakota unemployment rate reached its peak in April 2020 at 8.7%, after the national rate of 14.7%, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Labor Department, the North Dakota unemployment rate for August 2021 is 3.6%. This compares to the national rate of 5.2%.

Jan Joersz, owner of Pawz Enrichment Center, Bismarck, is a dog daycare that doubles as a training facility for puppies. She said she was willing and able to take a chance because she saw many families getting dogs.

Joersz stated that she knew people were looking for puppies and rescue dogs. This interview aired on " mornings with Maria" Tuesday.

McShane reported Joersz taking advantage of the Small Business Administration loan programme.

Sandy Jacobson, who opened Brick Oven Bakery Bismarck in the latter part of 2019, also spoke to him. She was worried that her business would be affected by the pandemic. However, her drive-through window, and the support of the community helped her to survive.

Jacobson stated, "We are that kind of community that supports small. We had people come through during the pandemic who maybe didn't need our pastries but would buy $100 gift cards just because." "So, I think that's what I think is the greatest thing about our community. It pulls together during times like these."

FOX Business spoke to a North Dakota SBA employee on Tuesday, stating that the tax climate in the state is "business-friendly". This could explain why so many small businesses are located in the region.

Around 500,000 entrepreneurs found the same thing across the country. Unprecedented numbers of small businesses were decimated by the coronavirus. 200,000 more were closed than would have been expected in a normal year. However, it also allowed for unprecedented growth of new companies. This unexpected boom in business offers lessons that can be used to improve the economy's ability to support new ideas, new businesses, and new entrepreneurs.

As a rule, business formation tends to be cyclical. People are more likely to start businesses when their net worth is rising, their confidence is high, and lenders are eager to lend. People are less likely to start businesses when their family finances are in crisis, the business outlook has deteriorated, or credit conditions are tightening. The pandemic recession caused a significant drop in business start-ups last spring.

\Business formation soared in the second half of 2020, even though much of the country was still closed. Mid-2020 to mid-2021 saw 500,000 more businesses being launched by entrepreneurs than mid-2018 to 2019; today, the number of Americans starting businesses is at its fastest ever recorded rate.

About the Author

Mitch Alborn

Mitch is a small business reporter who has more than 25 years of experience in journalism. 

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