Yelp had a very bad, no good year in 2020.

What was supposed to be a new chapter quickly spiraled towards disaster as the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown of restaurants prompted an almost immediate round of layoffs at the San Francisco-based review startup. In early April, Yelp laid off 1,000 employees and furloughed another 1,100. Though it would eventually bring back "nearly all" of those 1,100 employees, their return meant another 63 employees would be let go. The shift to work-from-home also reduced their footprint in major cities across the country; the entirety of its shiny San Francisco headquarters was recently put up for lease, and offices in New York City and Chicago were also listed for sublease.

In a matter of days in early March, Yelp's job listings took a tumble from 163 to just 5. Not much longer after that, a single, lonely job listing remained among the ashes.

But now, things are beginning to look up for Yelp. In a statement released ahead of its Q4 and Full-Year 2020 earnings today, the company announced that it experienced a 23% growth in revenue year-over-year from Q4 last year and is looking forward to 2021. "As we look ahead, we are confident in our ability to return to sustainable revenue growth in 2021," CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote. In the statement, Stoppelman wrote that much of 2020 at the company was spent generating new revenue streams.

Job listings are recovering, too. That lonely one listing is no longer alone, but is one of 199 that Yelp slowly added throughout the second half of 2020. The increase in job listings is a sign that Yelp is optimistic about the coming year and the speed at which business and life in general will return to "normal."

Yelp's success is directly tied to COVID restrictions on restaurants and businesses as well as to people's willingness to actually go to them. Stoppelman's statement and the increase in hiring are betting on the efficient rollout of vaccines to combat the pandemic, and that foot traffic will increase as vaccines are rolled out. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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