Print Friendly and PDF

Growth in US Business Numbers Outpaced by Many Other Economies Around the World

Growth in the number of businesses in the US has been outpaced by many other economies around the world in the last year, reveals a new study by UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network.

According to UHY, there has been a two percent increase in US business starts in the last year. There were 11 million businesses in total in the US in 2016 compared to 10.8 million in 2015 (see table below).

In comparison, overall across all countries in the study (21), business numbers in 2016 increased by eight percent on the previous year.

UHY points out that major advanced economies with already large numbers of businesses, such as the US, can often find it difficult to add to their stock, whereas emerging economies may have more capacity to do so.

It adds that although economic conditions and levels of entrepreneurship are healthy in the US, securing investment can pose problems for small business success.

UHY explains that failing to provide adequate data when soliciting investors or not doing enough research on the competitive landscape are key obstacles to accessing vital investment funds.
The Top 5 rankings in the UHY table for growth in business numbers are dominated by emerging economies.

China topped the table, with a 19 percent increase in business numbers in the last year. There were over 26 million Chinese businesses in total in 2016 compared to almost 22 million in 2015. India is in fifth position with an annual increase of seven percent to 1.1 million businesses in 2016.

Of the Western economies* studied, the UK is first, coming 6th in the UHY table. Numbers of businesses in the UK increased by six percent in the last year, taking the total to 3.9 million.

Rick David of UHY member firm UHY Advisors comments: “Enterprise and entrepreneurship in the US is growing, but not at the same impressive speed that some rival economies are enjoying.”

“Like many developed economies where markets are already highly competitive, America does not have the same scope to grow new businesses at such rapid rates found in China and developing countries. However, ambition remains strong.”

“It is important to remember that the US is still the world’s leading economy. Recent actions by policymakers in the US to revamp the US corporate tax system should significantly impact the growth of future business creation across the country. We expect moves, such as this to dramatically impact the ability of the US economy to keep pace with other similar, high-performing Western economies like the UK.”

“With a good number of incubators and accelerators in operation to support the start-up ecosystem, innovation and entrepreneurship are robust – but we need to make sure that whether the right conditions to allow businesses to thrive are in place.”

“Start-ups and small businesses must maximise their chances of securing much-needed investment funding by making sure they do their homework thoroughly, if they are to flourish and grow.”

China tops table for pace of growth in business numbers – increasing total stock by almost a fifth in a year

Rank Country Number of businesses in 2015 Number of businesses, in 2016 Amount change in number of businesses, % change in number of businesses.

1 China 21,982,000 26,115,000 4,134,000 18.8%
2 Pakistan 73,000 81,000 8,000 11.3%
3 Vietnam 442,000 485,000 42,000 9.6%
4 Malta 88,000 95,000 7,000 8.1%
– World 68,246,000 73,501,000 5,255,000 7.7%
5 India 1,070,000 1,143,000 73,000 6.8%
6 United Kingdom 3,679,000 3,897,000 218,000 5.9%
7 Denmark 297,000 308,000 11,000 3.7%
8 Israel 270,000 279,000 10,000 3.6%
9 Rep. of Ireland 198,000 205,000 7,000 3.3%
10 Russia 4,886,000 5,044,000 158,000 3.2%
11 France 4,836,000 4,973,000 137,000 2.8%
12 Australia 2,121,000 2,172,000 50,000 2.4%
– Major Western economies* 31,208,000 31,898,000 690,000 2.2%
– Europe 21,186,000 21,647,000 461,000 2.2%
13 United States 10,816,000 11,046,000 230,000 2.1%
14 Spain 3,512,000 3,586,000 73,000 2.1%
15 Japan 5,269,000 5,360,000 91,000 1.7%
16 Belgium 634,000 642,000 8,000 1.2%
17 Germany 3,469,000 3,503,000 34,000 1.0%
18 Poland 151,000 150,000 -1,000 -0.5%
19 Italy 3,139,000 3,120,000 -20,000 -0.6%
20 Portugal 1,181,000 1,169,000 -12,000 -1.1%
21 UAE (Dubai) 131,000 129,000 -3,000 -2.0%

*France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, United States

Notes on the figures (rounded to the nearest thousand):
Japan – 2015 figure is an estimate based on 2014 and 2016 figures; UK – figures have a year-end of 31 March 2016 and 2017, and are figures from UK’s Companies House on new incorporations and dissolved companies; Germany – 2016 figure is an estimate based on new registrations and de-registrations for 2016; Belgium – figures are for 2014 and 2015, the most up-to-date figures available; Vietnam – 2016 figure is an estimate based on annual growth rate 2010-15; Australia – Year end June 30 June 2015 and 2016; Pakistan – figures are for fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17 and measure the number of companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

UHY LLP is a licensed independent CPA firm that performs attest services in an alternative practice structure with UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities. UHY Advisors, Inc. provides tax and business consulting services through wholly owned subsidiary entities that operate under the name of “UHY Advisors.” UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities are not licensed CPA firms. UHY LLP and UHY Advisors, Inc. are US members of Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company, and form part of the international UHY network of legally independent accounting and consulting firms. “UHY” is the brand name for the UHY international network. Any services described herein are provided by UHY LLP and/or UHY Advisors (as the case may be) and not by UHY or any other member firm of UHY. Neither UHY nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members.

About UHY, the network
Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 296 major business centers across more than 90 countries. Our staff members, over 7,660 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to

UHY is a full member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit

UHY is an international association of independent accounting and consultancy firms, whose organizing body is Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company. Each member of UHY is a separate and independent firm. Services to clients are provided by the UHY member firms and not by Urbach Hacker Young International Limited. Neither Urbach Hacker Young International Limited nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members.

UHY press contact: Dominique Maeremans on +44 20 7767 2621 Email: