U.S. business formation surges in January

A "We're Hiring" sign advertising jobs is seen at the entrance of a restaurant, as Miami-Dade County eases some of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Applications to start new U.S. businesses jumped in January, suggesting economic activity was steadily picking again, although the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a risk to growth.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday business applications surged 42.6% to a seasonally adjusted 492,133 last month. The data is derived from business applications for tax identifications.

There were a seasonally adjusted 54,635 applications from corporations. Applications for businesses with planned wages totaled 58,023. Overall, applications increased in all four regions last month.

The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated businesses in the services sector, especially restaurants and bars, leaving millions unemployed.

The economy has recovered 12.3 million of the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April, when the pandemic started in the United States. At least 17.8 million Americans are on unemployment benefits.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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