Willing to risk it: US entrepreneurs launch half a million firms

The number of new businesses started between March 11, 2020 and March 1 of this year is 14 percent lower than a year earlier, but data from online platform Yelp shows American entrepreneurs haven’t been deterred by the COVID crisis.

Nearly 60 percent of new business openings in the United States in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic were in the professional, local, home and auto sectors, according to Yelp [File: Bloomberg]

Almost half a million new businesses opened in the U.S. in the first year of the pandemic, Yelp Inc. data showed, illustrating the resilience of American entrepreneurs.

The 487,577 openings were determined by counting new businesses listed on Yelp’s online platform, which enables consumers to review local firms. The report by the company, released Wednesday, looked at openings from March 11, 2020 — when the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic — to March 1 of this year. The number of new businesses is 14% lower than a year earlier.

New restaurants continued to open at a relatively quick pace despite the pandemic. Of the newly opened establishments, 76,051 were restaurant and food businesses. An additional 85,446 culinary-based operations reopened after temporarily closing to comply with local regulations to curb Covid-19 transmissions.

Almost 60% of the new business openings were in the professional, local, home and auto sectors, Yelp said. Notaries were up 52% from a year earlier, landscaping firms increased 42%, and auto-detailing services rose 37%. Additionally, contractors advanced 5% as house-bound people spent more time at improving their homes.

The Yelp data adds credence to the U.S. Census Bureau data, which showed a record number of new businesses were created in 2020. The Census Bureau data, compiled from new-business tax filings, show that applications began to rebound last summer after falling sharply last March as the Covid-19 pandemic forced business shutdowns in many states.

Source: Bloomberg