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New small-business Pulse Survey shows breadth of COVID-19 impact on businesses

Posted May 15, 2020

The first results from the new U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey show a large negative effect from COVID-19 for the majority (51.4%) of respondents and an expectation that it will take more than six months for their businesses to return to normal.

The survey, conducted by email, is intended to provide crucial weekly data on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the nation’s businesses.

The survey was delivered to 100,915 small businesses. Key findings from the 22,449 who responded from April 26-May 2:

  • Overall, how has this business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Of the U.S. businesses surveyed in the accommodation and food services sector, 83.5% experienced a negative effect from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In your opinion, how much time do you think will pass before this business returns to its usual level of operations? An average 31.4% expect more than six months will pass before their business returns to its usual level of operations.
  • In the last week, did this business temporarily close any of its locations for at least one day? An average 41.4% temporarily closed a location for at least one day. An average 72.2% of businesses in the educational services sector, 62.4% in health care and social assistance sector and 70.8% in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector temporarily closed a location for at least one day.
  • In the last week, did the business have disruptions in its supply chain? An average 44.9% reported yes, there were disruptions in the supply chain. In the retail trade sector, an average 65.8% reported disruptions in its supply chain as did 49.6% of the manufacturing sector and 61.4% in the health care and social assistance sector.

Data will continue to be posted every Thursday. In future weeks, the results will show the impact on sectors by state.

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