Expand chart
Data: Yelp; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Growth slowed for local economies virtually everywhere in the U.S. last year, and is declining again at the start of this year as consumers pare back spending and business growth stalls.

What they're saying: So says business directory service Yelp, which used data from its more than 100 million users to track the number of businesses opening or closing and consumer demand.

What's happening: The Yelp Economic Average had its largest quarter-over-quarter decline in a year in Q4, "fueled by slumps in retail and services businesses."

  • The fourth quarter of 2019 marked the fifth straight quarter the measure has shown a level of economic strength weaker than in 2016, when the metric debuted.

Why it matters: "Yelp has information not only on millions of U.S. brick-and-mortar businesses but on the consumer demand expressed by the millions of consumers who view, review, and post photos of businesses on Yelp every day," the company said in a release accompanying the analysis.

  • Yelp says its data is able to more quickly identify trends found in GDP, retail sales, purchasing managers indexes and other economic reports released by the government and large private companies.

Yes, but: Yelp's data does not track online shopping or purchases, which is an increasingly important segment of the U.S. and global economy.

The big picture: If Yelp's data is correct, it shows economic prospects are deteriorating for brick-and-mortar businesses of all kinds.

  • Even among the strongest major metro areas in Yelp's report, eight of the top 10 show declining growth year over year.
  • Retail, food and automotive businesses almost across the board fared poorly, with stores selling mobile phones, shoes and appliances seeing the worst losses.
  • Food and nightlife businesses had declining business in every state except Wyoming, Nevada, the Dakotas and Vermont.

Watch this space: Large states and metropolitan areas like California, Texas, Florida, New York City, Chicago and Seattle saw some of the worst scores.

P.S. You can see Yelp's methodology for calculating the economic average here.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.