(CBS DETROIT) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced this week new data shows small businesses are seeing growth in Michigan.

According to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information, small businesses with less than 50 employees created nearly 170,000 jobs in the first three quarters of 2021. It is the fastest start to small business job growth in 23 years.

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In addition, 150,000 new small business applications were filed in 2021, which is 59% more than in 2019.

“Small businesses form the backbone of Michigan’s economy and are the anchors of communities across the state. Through tough times, they’ve shown grit and innovation to continue getting things done for their customers and employees,” Whitmer said in a news release.

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Recent data shows that entrepreneurs are fired up, starting tens of thousands of businesses and creating nearly 170,000 jobs. While the numbers are encouraging, we must build on this momentum by making investments to retain and recruit more workers, expand operations, and attract additional investment. Together, let’s keep getting things done for Michigan’s booming small business community.”

More than 900,000 small businesses are in Michigan, with 1.9 million employees, representing 48.3% of workers.

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“The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in Michigan,” said J.D. Collins, CEO of Michigan Small BusinessDevelopment Center. “Our consultants are experiencing a record number of start-up ventures and businesses in generational transition. We need the continued support of programs such as the MI New Economy Plan to ensure that Michigan is the best place to start and grow a business.”

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