MORE than 1,000 businesses opened in Barnsley last year as the town looks to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 1,070 firms opened in the town in 2021.

It means a total of 7,590 businesses were active last year - up from 7,330 the year before.

However, 950 businesses were forced to shut up shop in 2021 - up from 740 in 2020.

It was also up from 780 in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Nationally, 327,000 businesses closed in 2021 - a nine per cent increase on the year before and the highest number since 2017.

Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said businesses are constantly opening and closing, particularly sole traders undertaking casual work - including delivery couriers, which saw a boom during the pandemic - and self-employed people conducting freelance work.

These are included in the official statistics and are more likely to be created or closed in a short period of time, she added added.

The transport, storage and postal industry had the highest business birth rate, at 26 per cent, and death rate, at 22 per cent.

No other industry had a rate for either higher than 16 per cent.

Ms Ussher said: “The picture is then complicated by the impact of the pandemic, which not only led to a temporary increase in unemployment and so increased the number of people looking for freelance work, but also caused a change in consumer spending patterns that affected different parts of the economy in different ways.

“All of this led to particularly high churn rates as the economy adjusted in 2021.”

She also highlighted the number of new businesses, suggesting it shows that the economy is starting to recover from the pandemic.

The IoD said the majority of new and closed businesses were sole traders - of the 327,000 total business deaths in the UK last year, just 82,000 had two or more employees.

Meanwhile, in Barnsley, there were around 20 high-growth businesses in the area - meaning the annualised growth in the number of employees of the business over the last three years is at least 20 per cent - and around 780 enterprises employed 10 or more staff.