As optimism on Main Street remains stagnant, a new report finds U.S. entrepreneurial activity fell in 2015, reversing four years of upward growth.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2015 U.S. Report released by Babson College on Tuesday, total entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. fell 2 percentage points last year, sliding from 14 percent in 2014 to 12 percent in 2015. This indicator measures those starting and running new businesses.
Researchers pointed to a drop in "nascent activity," meaning that fewer people overall entered into entrepreneurship in 2015. The report underscores the idea that a Main Street post-recession recovery is still a work in progress, with sentiment and overall levels of entrepreneurship potentially wavering.
The number of Americans who see opportunities to launch new businesses also fell from a high of 51 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2015, meaning the group is motivated but seeing fewer opportunities to start businesses. Sixty-nine percent of those who did launch businesses were motivated by the pursuit of opportunity and independence.
The report is part of a global survey that has more than 200,000 respondents annually.
"It could be that people have good jobs and don't feel motivated to go out and start businesses," said Babson professor Donna Kelley. "But this is an indicator to watch. If the general environment is saying that there are few opportunities and the entrepreneurship rate goes down, that all suggests less optimism about entrepreneurship right now."