12/11/2012 - Diverging patterns of business start-up rates are emerging across OECD economies five years after the sharp, synchronized falls recorded at the beginning of the financial crisis.
Start-up rates remain below pre-crisis levels in most Euro area economies for which data are available and in the United States. In France start-up rates were boosted in 2009 and 2010 by new legislation supporting auto-entrepreneurs. Start-up rates also began to recover or stabilize in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States in 2010. However, the recovery has shown signs of petering out over the past two years with start-up rates trending downwards in most Euro area countries and the United States. Although latest data continues to show an upward trend in Spain, the rates remain well below pre-crisis levels.
In Australia, Norway and the United Kingdom start-up rates have recovered strongly with trends continuing to move upwards since the nadir of the crisis.
Data on bankruptcies are less comparable across countries and more affected by national legislation but the data for Australia and the United Kingdom are broadly consistent with higher levels of business entry and exit rates, with bankruptcies edging slightly higher in recent years. Bankruptcy rates for the United States are significantly below the highs reached at the height of the crisis and have followed a strong downward trend in recent years. Bankruptcy rates in both Norway and France have stabilized close to pre-crisis levels in recent periods.