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North or south, red or blue — states shut down their economies at about the same pace, CNBC analysis shows

Key Points
  • The historic economic shutdown from the coronavirus took hold in mid-March at roughly the same pace across the nation, a CNBC analysis shows.
  • About 52,000 businesses were closed throughout the country as of April 26, according to Yelp data.
  • States that voted for President Trump in 2016 closed at a somewhat faster rate from the end of March through April.
A Starbucks Coffee in Harlem is closed, as retail sales suffer record drop during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 15, 2020.
Bryan Smith | Reuters

While states prepare to open their economies at different rates, a CNBC analysis of how the country closed down finds the nation shuttered virtually as one.

Whether the state voted red or blue in 2016, whether it is run by a Republican or Democratic governor, or even whether it's in the South or Northeast, the data shows historic economic shutdown from the coronavirus took hold in mid-March at roughly the same pace across the nation.

CNBC analyzed state and national data from Yelp of restaurant, food establishments, bars and other nightlife locations. Yelp's data is drawn from its 36 million unique app users on average each month and 205 million reviews.

About 52,000 such businesses were closed throughout the country as of April 26, according to the Yelp data. It's up 17% from a week earlier, showing the closings continued to increase even as of Sunday, despite talk of a potential easing of restrictions this week in some states.

The data show the shutdown began in earnest on March 16 when 789 businesses were closed nationwide.

The next day, closings topped 1,000 and the shutdowns peaked on March 23 and March 24 when a combined 7,000 restaurants, bars and nightlife establishments closed across the count.

California has the most closures at about 9,800, followed by New York at 4,800 and Texas at 3,600.

Carl Bialik, data science editor at Yelp, confirmed CNBC's findings.

"Our own analysis of this and other indicators derived from our data show small differences in timing of the start of rapid change, then similar levels of change,'' he said. "It looks like no matter how and when their governments acted, consumers and business owners moved in similar ways around the country.'

Business likely closed because of some combination of state closure laws, an absence of customers or a decision by an owner to simply shut down for health and/or economic reasons.

CNBC indexed the data for the week before the shutdowns began to compare state closures with their normal levels. It found Nevada, hit hard by the shutdown of the casino business, suffered the most closures relative to a normal week.

Looking at closures through a political lens shows few differences in the pace of the shutdown. After starting off even, states that voted for President Trump in 2016 closed at a somewhat faster rate from the end of March through April. The states that voted for Hillary Clinton soon caught up.

By contrast, a different political prism shows the opposite: States run by Democratic governors shutdown at a slightly faster pace than those run by Republican governors, but the difference lasted only about four days.

Small states did lag behind big states in the pace of closures, but establishments in these states still closed at a strong pace.