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Facebook data shows mixed picture for local businesses coming out of the pandemic

James Brown
Rochester's skyline from Court Street

There’s new data that shows while some Monroe County businesses are coming back strong after the worst of the pandemic, others are still struggling to rebound.

The information comes from Facebook, which provides a service called Data for Good, where the social media company keeps track of posts by businesses and other organizations and then makes that data available to researchers and others to provide them with real-time metrics.

Laura McGorman, public policy manager for Facebook, said the number of posts a business or organization puts on their platform can be a good indicator of how things are going for them.

“The level of posting activity of small businesses on Facebook is a really good indicator of whether or not they may or may not be operating, whether or not they are operating at diminished capacity, and so we're sharing this data to hopefully help with local insights that help economists and local officials better understand how small businesses by sector are faring right now,” McGorman said.

She added that the latest data Facebook has for Monroe County shows that restaurants have seen a strong rebound since the pandemic restrictions have eased, while some other sectors, like travel services and manufacturing, have been more uneven.

"It’s been really heartening to see the rebound of restaurants across the United States, across New York State, and Monroe County; you have restaurants actually posting at nearly the exact same level that they were in early 2020, about 98%. That's high," McGorman said. "But then if you look at industries like local events, or travel companies, you're just not seeing as speedy a recovery."

The Facebook data also shows that business for grocery and convenience stores in Monroe County peaked in March 2020 when residents stocked up on supplies and have stayed at a relatively strong level since then.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.