Explore how businesses have formed and fared in Connecticut

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The Office of the Secretary of the State and The Data Collaborative have released a new portal to explore business registry data.

Visitors can compare towns, see how different types of businesses formed and dissolved over time, or get raw data to conduct analyses or visualizations (like the map above).

Previously, it had been difficult to determine how well or how badly businesses have done in the state.

“You can’t measure what you can’t count,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill at a presentation Monday. “What we haven’t done until now is analyze where this activity is taking place.”

With the new data portal, the public can see where business is lagging, where there have been booms or where there have been busts, she said.

Both the formation and dissolution of businesses have been on an upward trend, according to an analysis from CTData. The number of business establishments tends to rise and fall with the business cycles of the overall economy, reflecting downturns like recessions.

The new portal also makes it easier to spot reactions to business policy changes. Legislators passed a bill in 1994 enabling the formation of LLCs. As a result, LLCs grew from 0 percent to 84 percent of formations between 1994 and 2015.

Meanwhile, corporations decreased from 94 percent of formations to 15 percent.

Business Formations by Type, 1992-2015

This is just the beginning since more comprehensive data is lacking, like how many employees there are per business or how many sole proprietorships there are per town. Officials said they hope the gaps will be filled by state and town officials and eventually added to the database.

There’s much more data to add and more stories to be told after exploring the data, said Michelle Riordan-Nold, CTData’s executive director. The collaborative will hold focus groups with local governments and chambers of commerce to figure out what data should be added.

What do you think?