COVID-19 International
Small Business Study

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Baseline Results USA

March 28th - April 20th, 2020

This is a colaborative project to gather information on how the current COVID-19 public health crisis is affecting small and medium sized businesses and how government relief packages being implemented in the region can help. Preliminary results using the baseline survey are summarized below.

Between March 28th and April 20th, the COVID-19 Small Business Survey collected data on more than 8,000 small business owners in the U.S., including information on their firm size, layoffs, beliefs on future prospects, as well as their awareness of existing government relief programs that could help their firms. This daily survey started the day after the CARES Act was signed and runs through four days after the Paycheck Protection Program exhausted its initial funding. Using the survey, we provide three main findings:

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Fact 1: Small business owners were already severely impacted when CARES Act was first implemented

First, surveyed small business owners were already severely impacted by COVID-19-related disruptions, with more than 60% having laid off workers and many reporting high probabilities of going out of business or bankrupt in the next six months.

Small Business Employment

Small Business Expectations of Bankruptcy

Fact 2: Small business owner expectations about the future are negative and have continuously deteriorated

Second, business owners’ expectations about the future are in general negative and have continuously deteriorated throughout our study period, with 37% of respondents in the first week of the survey saying they did not expect to recover within 2 years, growing to 46% by the last week.

Small Business Expectations of Recovery

Fact 3: The smallest businesses are less aware of government assistance programs

Third, we show that the smallest businesses had the least awareness of government assistance programs, the slowest growth in awareness after the passage of the CARES Act, and never caught up with the larger businesses.

Small Business Awareness by Firm Size

More Figures:

In the Press

The Economist

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