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Mapped: The Uneven Recovery of U.S. Small Businesses

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Mapped: The Uneven Recovery of U.S. Small Businesses

Mapped: The Uneven Recovery of U.S. Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, employing nearly half of the private sector workforce.

Unfortunately, lockdown and work-from-home measures brought about by COVID-19 have disproportionately affected small businesses – particularly in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

As metro-level data from Opportunity Insights points out, geography makes a great deal of difference in the proportion of U.S. small businesses that have flipped their open sign. While some cities are mostly back to business as usual, others are in a situation where the majority of small businesses are still shuttered.

The Big Picture

In the U.S. as a whole, data suggests that nearly a quarter of all small businesses remain closed. Of course, the situation on the ground differs from place to place. Here’s how cities around the country are doing, sorted by percentage of small businesses closed as of September 2020:

MetrosSmall Businesses ClosedSmall Businesses Closed (Leisure & Hosp.)
San Francisco-49%-65%
New Orleans-45%-72%
Honolulu-41%-39%
Washington DC-37%-55%
San Jose-35%-41%
Portland-34%-46%
San Antonio-34%-60%
Sacramento-33%-43%
Boston-33%-42%
Oakland-32%-52%
Austin-32%-65%
Bakersfield-31%-64%
Houston-30%-58%
Seattle-28%-47%
San Diego-28%-41%
Baltimore-28%-43%
Detroit-28%-44%
Los Angeles-27%-39%
Chicago-27%-37%
Tucson-27%-37%
Atlanta-26%-33%
Fresno-26%-50%
Oklahoma City-26%-56%
Cleveland-26%-39%
Denver-26%-56%
Indianapolis-25%-29%
Denver-25%-38%
El Paso-25%-34%
Philadelphia-24%-34%
Tulsa-23%-40%
Albuquerque-23%-42%
Colorado Springs-23%-37%
Louisville-23%-25%
Miami-23%-38%
Fort Worth-22%-34%
Las Vegas-22%-35%
Tampa-22%-45%
Milwaukee-22%-30%
New York City-21%-40%
Dallas-21%-38%
Memphis-21%-37%
Minneapolis-21%-36%
Nashville-21%-39%
Columbus-21%-35%
Phoenix-19%-36%
Jacksonville-18%-35%
Salt Lake City-18%-24%
Charlotte-18%-42%
Raleigh-16%-34%
Wichita-15%-29%
Kansas City-15%-24%
Omaha-13%-14%

New Orleans and the Bay Area are still experiencing rates of small business closures that are almost double the national median.

Small businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector have been particularly hard hit, with 37% reporting no transaction data.

Getting Back to Business

Some cities are seeing rates of small business operation that are nearing pre-pandemic levels.

Change in small businesses open by city - back to normal

Of the cities covered in the data set, Omaha had the highest rate of small businesses open.

Still Shuttered

In cities with a large technology sector, such as San Francisco and Austin, COVID-19 is shaking up the economic patterns as entire companies switched to remote working almost overnight. This is bad news for the constellation of restaurants and services that cater to those workers.

Change in small businesses open by city - still closed

Likewise, cities that have an economy built around serving visitors – Honolulu and New Orleans, for example – have seen a very high rate of small business closures as vacations and conferences have been paused indefinitely.

As the pandemic drags on, many of these temporary closures are looking to be permanent. Yelp recently reported that of the restaurants marked as closed on their platform, 61% are shut down permanently. As well, businesses in the retail and nightlife categories also saw more than half of closures become permanent.

In Remembrance of Revenue

A business being completely closed is a definitive measure, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Even for businesses that remained open, revenue is often far below pre-pandemic rates.

small businesses revenue covid-19

Once again, businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector have been hit the hardest, with revenue falling by almost half since the beginning of 2020.

At present, it’s hard to predict when, or even if, economic activity will completely recover. Though travel and some level of in-office work will eventually ramp back up, the small business landscape will continue to face major upheaval in the meantime.

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Agriculture

Visualizing the World’s Flower Bouquet Export Market

This graphic highlights global flower bouquet sales in 2021 and how a few countries dominate the entire flower export market.

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Flower Bouquet Exports 2021 Shareable

Visualizing the World’s Flower Bouquet Export Market

For many, flower bouquets are the go-to gift choice when congratulating a colleague, visiting an ailing relative, or simply showing love and kindness to partners and friends.

And the global popularity of these carefully-arranged and vividly-colored bundles has led to the creation of a billion-dollar flower bouquet market. And demand for beautiful bouquets has kept growing, with global flower bouquet exports in 2021 reaching $11 billion—which is a 30.2% rise since 2017.

Louis Lugas Wicaksono uses data from World’s Top Exports to highlight the spread of this industry. In this image, he shows the flower bouquet exports across different countries in 2021.

Countries Trading the Most Flower Bouquets

Far at the top of the list and best known for their tulips, the Netherlands dominated the flower bouquet export industry in 2021.

RankCountryContinentFlower Bouquet Exports (2021 USD)
1🇳🇱 NetherlandsEurope$5.7B
2🇨🇴 ColombiaAmerica$1.7B
3🇪🇨 EcuadorAmerica$927.3M
4🇰🇪 KenyaAfrica$725.5M
5🇪🇹 EthiopiaAfrica$254.5M
6🇧🇪 BelgiumEurope$150.0M
7🇮🇹 ItalyEurope$140.9M
8🇨🇳 ChinaAsia$124.6M
9🇲🇾 MalaysiaAsia$90.5M
10🇨🇦 CanadaAmerica$82.0M
11🇮🇱 IsraelAsia$77.5M
12🇿🇦 South AfricaAfrica$70.4M
13🇪🇸 SpainEurope$69.6M
14🇩🇪 GermanyEurope$65.8M
15🇹🇷 TurkeyAsia$59.4M
🌎 Rest of the world$735.2M

The small European nation exported $5.7 billion worth of bouquets in 2021, accounting for over half of global flower bouquet trade. This dominance comes from centuries of being the world’s largest producer of flowers and being a floral trade hub due to its advantageous location and connections with other growers, suppliers, and wholesalers.

Colombia and Ecuador fall next on this list with their exports totaling $1.7 billion and $927 million, respectively. Roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums are heavily exported from these South American nations.

On the other side of the Atlantic, cut rose flower exports were the leading drivers for Kenya and Ethiopia, earning these African nations $725 million and $254 million respectively.

Together, these five nations contributed to 85% of the world’s flower bouquet trade in 2021.

Post-Pandemic Strategies

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the flower bouquet export industry remained resilient. However, this was not an easy feat.

Many florists embraced new strategies like online sales and free home deliveries, and exporters dealt with global shipping slowdowns. Some countries including Columbia and Kenya focused on producing flowers with longer shelf lives that could be shipped further away.

As we continue to drift away from the pandemic and global trade eases up, we can expect this industry to blossom further.

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