The number of new businesses setting up shop in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands continues to plummet.
A Business Licensing Officer, Pam Halstead estimates a drop of a little over 30 percent in the average number of new business license applications issued each month compared to last year.
Ms Halstead says in some cases, month by month comparisons have declined by as much as 50 percent.
She says the renewal of business licenses have also been dropping annually since 2005.
In January, only 39 new business licenses were issued compared to the 68 issued in January 2009; a drop of 42.6 percent.
In February, only 44 new business licenses were issued compared to 62, the same month last year; a 29 percent decline.
Pam Helstead also noted that there's been a significant drop in the quantity of new business applications issued from 2007, with an annual total of 1,035 new business licenses issued compared with a total of 657 in 2008.