Local Economies Don't Falter Despite Trump's Trade War and Federal Reserve Deliberations, Yelp Data Finds

President Donald Trump's trade war with China has infused uncertainty into the global economy and led to sharp decreases in worldwide growth estimates. Signs like slowing in the manufacturing and service sectors have raised prospects of declining domestic growth, rendering recession a regular topic of discussion.

But the Yelp Economic Average, a quarterly assessment that measures the economic health of 50 major urban areas through business survival and consumer interest, showed that urban economies have, as a whole, maintained their status since last quarter. The report, which was published Tuesday, found a national growth of .07 percent.

"As China trade tensions, Fed deliberations, and impeachment inquiry talk trickles down to Main Street, the Yelp Economic Average has barely budged," Carl Bialik, Yelp's data science editor, said in a press release.

While stock indicators track the success of large, publicly traded companies, providing an overview of economic behemoths, Yelp uses its wide reach and reams of data to trace the success of millions of local businesses. Its quarterly YEA report utilizes data of millions of businesses to assess 30 business sectors, providing a metric that might be missed by traditional indicators, Bialik told Newsweek.

In California, major cities continued seeing existing declines in strength. San Jose and San Francisco were ranked 50th and 49th, respectively, among the 50 cities that Yelp tracks in its study. San Diego ranked 46th, while Los Angeles placed 42nd and Sacramento held 34th.

"Construction limits and increasing rent are pushing consumers and workers farther from businesses, contributing to continued quarterly declines in some of the state's biggest metro areas, with retail and restaurants taking the biggest hits," Bialik said in the press release.

Rents in California have escalated sharply in recent years. San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles are among the top-10 most expensive cities in the country, Investopedia said in July. California Governor Gavin Newsom has prioritized tenant rights and earlier this month signed legislation to limit rent increases, but past high-paced rent increases have restricted the amount of disposable income that consumers have, thereby limiting spending, the report said.

Although California's retail sector took an economic hit, retail across the country grew in the third quarter. Bialik told Newsweek that stores where shoppers might want to see potential purchases--like sporting goods, furniture and appliances--performed well. Sporting goods increased significantly, and women's clothing also experienced sizable improvement.

While Milwaukee declined in strength slightly from the last quarter, the city retained its position in the top five performing metro areas. Buffalo, New York, improved and held second place, while Honolulu ranked third, Portland, Maine, ranked fourth and Pittsburgh ranked fifth. Buffalo and Pittsburgh knocked other cities out to reach the top five. All of the top-5 cities had strong home services businesses, Yelp said. Pittsburgh and Portland experienced particularly strong growth from such companies.

Pittsburgh
An aerial view of Pittsburgh area prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on June 1, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was ranked as the fifth-fastest growing city according to a Yelp report. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Local Economies Don't Falter Despite Trump's Trade War and Federal Reserve Deliberations, Yelp Data Finds | News