Main Street Health: How did small businesses fare in May?

Main Street remains resilient. Our three key Main Street Health Metrics — hours worked, locations open, and employees working — continue to show a positive trend compared to January of 2022, despite macroeconomic and geopolitical crosscurrents and negative reports from some bellwether companies. 

Main Street Health Metrics
(Rolling 7-day average; relative to Jan. 2022)
1. Some significant dips due to major U.S. holidays. Pronounced dip in mid-February 2021 coincides with the period including the Texas power crisis and severe weather in the Midwest. Source: Homebase data.

Regional differences

Overall national trends in our key Main Street Health metrics mask some differences across regions, states and MSAs. For example, our hours worked metric showed some modest month-over-month declines in parts of the West, Southwest, and Southeast. By contrast, New England, The Plains, Great Lakes, and the mid-Atlantic regions continue to trend positively. 

Percent change in hours worked
(Mid-May vs. mid-April using Jan. 2022 baseline) 
Note 1.  May 8-14 vs. April 10-16. Regional averages weighted by population, based on 2019 estimates from the US Census. Source: Homebase data

The pattern at the MSA-level was largely consistent with the state-level results, with gains evident in New York, Hartford, and Minneapolis, among others. San Antonio was a Southern standout.

Percent change in hours worked and employees working
(Mid-May vs. mid-April using January 2022 baseline) 1
1. May 8-14 vs. April 10-16. Source: Homebase data

Experiential businesses continue to significantly outperform compared with the beginning of 2022. Consumers’ shift away from consumption goods to experiences is evident in our data. We noted continued momentum in the hospitality and entertainment industries, which are up 19.2% and 22.8%, respectively, from January 2022. Retail, on the other hand, is trending downwards, as is beauty & wellness. 

Percent change in employees working
(Compared to January 2022 baseline using 7-day rolling average) 
1. May 8-14 vs. April 10-16 (2022) and May 12-18 vs. April 7-13 (2019).  Pronounced dips generally coincide with major US Holidays.

Nominal average hourly wages are up almost 10% since the beginning of 2021. However, there is some evidence that the rate of increase is leveling off.

Percent change in nominal average hourly wages relative to January 2021 baseline


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