Main Street Businesses in the Northeast, Midwest and Mountain States Grew the Most Last Year

Main Street small businesses

Small businesses on Main Street have proven to be more resilient than many of their larger counterparts, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Main Street Businesses Are Outperforming the US Economy.”

In the last 12 months, Main Street businesses have been operating with the lowest risk of closure since early 2020.

These findings stood out in the most recent Main Street Index, which PYMNTS produces quarterly — based on business growth data, real wages and Bureau of Labor Statistics employment information — to measure how small businesses in the United States are faring.

Most Main Street businesses are seeing faster levels of post-pandemic growth than many analysts anticipated. This is especially true for Main Street businesses operating in certain sectors. Small firms in building and contracting, dining, and repair work experienced especially robust progress.

One primary driver of the growth reflected in the index is the 10% surge in building, contracting and remodeling work in the last 12 months — which was spurred on by a 14% increase in construction worker wages.

Companies operating in other sectors saw notable progress as well. Those in the service/repair, dining, personal services, healthcare, and fitness sectors all reported growth in the last year, while those in the retail sector remained stagnant. (It should be noted that the stagnation in retail has lingered since May 2023, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the end of the pandemic, indicating retailers are having a tougher time than others when it comes to bouncing back from the COVID-19 lull.)

Regional performance

But the line of business isn’t the only factor shaping the success of Main Street businesses. Where entrepreneurs chose to set up shop also influenced their success.

Regionally, Main Street businesses operating in the Northeast, Midwest and Mountain portions of the U.S. have grown roughly 5% since the first quarter of 2023. Although that number might seem small, it represents leading growth, which is notable given fluctuations in spending and the economy.

Where did this growth come from? Growth in the Midwest benefited from a surge in businesses opening their doors there. Main Street businesses in the Southwest and Mountain regions have grown the most, with the Main Street Index rising 53% for the Mountain region between 2014 and 2024.

Although retail-oriented Main Street businesses appear to be having a tougher time finding their footing in the post-pandemic landscape, nearly every other business operating on Main Street has defied expectations in recent years, which is especially true for those operating in the western half of the United States. Main Street businesses there appear to be well-positioned to grow further in the future.