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More Than Half a Million Businesses Sprung Up in the U.S. Over the Past Year

Over 500 thousand new businesses were birthed in the U.S. amid the throes of the economic downturn, a new report from Yelp shows. The figure is most likely significantly higher in reality, given that it was estimated based only on the number of new business listings registered on Yelp.

Yelp recorded 516,754 new business listings between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. The figure is down by just 11% percent when compared to the previous year’s figure – further proof that the nation’s economic recovery is well underway. Also, the figure for the first quarter of 2021 is down by just 2% compared to the figure of comparable quarters.

“Our data shows that more new businesses opened in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2021 than at any other period over the last 12 months, providing an optimistic outlook that local economies are back on solid ground after a tumultuous year,” said Justin Norman, Yelp’s data science vice president, during an interview with CNBC. “After a challenging year, 2021 is off to an encouraging start for the local economy.”

The report also shows that businesses like restaurants, which were hit the hardest by lockdown and mitigation regulations, are also returning to pre-pandemic growth levels. The number of new restaurants dropped just 14% between comparable quarters in 2020 and 2021.

On the state level, the figures vary significantly in each business category, but the general trend has been upward across all the states, especially during the first quarter of 2021 – except in North Dakota.

The report, which also tracked businesses that closed and reopened, also shows high reopening rates across the country. This reflects the high level of optimism about the economy and a growing openness to investments.

Other key findings in the report include tremendous increments in consumer spending on goods like those for home improvement, groceries, and wine tasting – things that people generally desire more as they’re compelled to spend more time indoors.

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