Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Not much analysis to offer here yet, but it’s worth noting that businesses created in Cambridge in the past month — meaning those registered with the city clerk — are essentially on par with figures from recent Octobers. (And only four less than the prior month, September.)

Here’s how the Octobers break down: This year there are 41 new businesses recorded. Last year there were 39. In 2007, there were 44. And in 2006, there were 59.

Although the Cambridge-based National Bureau of Economic Research determined the current recession started in December 2007, that significantly higher figure of 59 new businesses in 2006 raises expectations of an obvious economy-based trend in which business creation looks better during boom times. But records from 2005 show there were 42 businesses registered in October 2005, only one off from current figures in the midst of misery.

Many businesses registered in October arrived in twos — two convenience stores expanding, two software firms created, two tutors hanging out shingles and two furniture sellers and repairers setting up shop. There was slightly more action in alternative medicine (three) and consultants (from three to five, depending on the definition of consultant).

What’s harder to know immediately, but is suggested by the nature of some of the businesses, is whether these launches are entrepreneurial efforts forced by layoffs elsewhere and very likely home-based. “It’s much easier to track retail locations,” said Christopher Basler, a project planner with the city’s economic development division, when shown the clerk’s figures tonight. “We look at [storefront] vacancy rates within business districts and look at what businesses are coming and going in those areas.”

One person could file six business certificates with the clerk and not follow through on any, he pointed out. (In each month, some certificates are also for businesses changing their names or ownership, or for nonprofits and nonretail organizations.)

Some of the newly certified businesses will be looked at in this space over the next few days, and so should those vacancy rates.