Sep 12, 2023 - Business

D.C. sees rise in new business openings, Yelp data shows

Data: Yelp. Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Yelp. Chart: Axios Visuals

New business registrations on Yelp were up more than 25% across the D.C. area in July, compared to before the pandemic.

Why it matters: It's a good measure of economic sentiment — people generally don't take the risk of spinning up a new venture if they foresee economic peril.

The big picture: Business openings nationwide have exceeded 2019 levels every month this year, Axios' Hope King reports, thanks to a surge in travel, events, and get-togethers.

Flashback: Downtown D.C. remained deserted in the fall of 2021, hurting small and local businesses. Last spring, foot traffic inched up to 70% of pre-pandemic times.

Zoom in: 185 new businesses were registered on Yelp across D.C. in July, up 12% from the same time last year.

Zoom out: Nationally new listings of shops and services on Yelp are on track to beat 2022's all-time high, according to a recent company report.

  • Nearly 484,000 new businesses popped up on the platform from January through July this year, compared with about 389,000 over the same time period last year.

Between the lines: There have been more U.S. business openings from underrepresented communities every month compared with the same month last year.

  • From January through July, LGBTQ-owned (+33%), Black-owned (+28%) and Latino-owned (+28%) businesses opened at a higher rate than the national average (+25%), and when compared with the same time period last year.
  • Women-owned businesses saw an increase of 19% in openings, and Asian-owned businesses saw a 13% increase.

Of note: New business data may lag due to the time taken to report and verify openings, Yelp says.

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