Yelp Study Gauges The Scope Of Business Closures

According to Yelp, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a transformation in business across the U.S. as local enterprises disappeared from the scene.

In its Yelp Economic Average study, the company reported that, since March 1, more than 175,000 businesses have been marked on Yelp as shut down, temporarily or permanently. The Los Angeles metro area saw the largest number of business closures, followed by New York and Chicago. Seattle and San Francisco have had the highest rate of business closures as a share of all businesses among major metros, while Philadelphia and Miami have had the lowest rate of business closures among big urban centers.

Businesses marked as closed include more than 48,000 shopping establishments, 30,000 restaurants and 24,000 spas and other beauty businesses. The study determined that the rate of closures nationwide, and other indicators of local economic strength, turned to the negative sharply during the second and third weeks of March as warnings gave way to shelter-in-place orders and other governmental measures to curb the pandemic. On or around March 16, closure rates increased by two to four times, Yelp stated.

“In 15 days, the economy transformed as much as it had in our prior 15 years of operation, combined,” said Carl Bialik, Yelp’s data science editor. “This quarter has been unlike any other as businesses suddenly closed nationwide, consumer interest plummeted, businesses overhauled their business models, and workers and consumers changed lifelong habits overnight. Between March 10 to March 21, one of the hardest hit categories was bars and other nightlife businesses, which declined in consumer interest by 81%. Salons and other beauty businesses were down 77%, hotels and other travel businesses were down 75% and restaurants were down 52%.”