Editor's Note: This piece is cross posted from Main Street America. You can read the full piece and take a closer look at the data for the report on their website. If you want to learn more you can listen to their webinar from April 16 that goes deeper into the report.
By Main Street America
Last week, Main Street America conducted an online survey to assess the impact of the COVID-19 on the approximately 300,000 small businesses across the network. Specifically, this survey was designed to help us understand small businesses’ ability to withstand what may be several months of suppressed revenue and what kinds of support programs will have the most impact.
With thanks to the Main Street Network for encouraging participation in the survey, more than 5,850 small business owners responded. Respondents came from more than 1,000 places across the United States, including big cities like New York and Chicago and small towns like Blairsville, Georgia and Greybull, Wyoming. Nearly 40 percent of the small businesses represented in this survey operate in towns with fewer than 10,000 residents.
The findings in the just-released report, The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses: Findings from Main Street America’s Small Business Survey, highlight the profound impact on the smallest, locally-owned businesses that are the backbone of many downtown districts. The findings are sobering:
Millions of small businesses will be at great risk of closing permanently if the crisis continues for several months. Of the nation’s approximately 30 million small businesses, nearly 7.5 million small businesses may be at risk of closing permanently over the coming five months, and 3.5 million are at risk of closure in the next two months.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on small businesses’ revenue, and millions of Americans employed by our nation’s smallest businesses are at risk of unemployment as a result. Approximately 35.7 million Americans employed by small businesses are at risk of unemployment as result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Our survey finds that business owners primarily need financial assistance and penalty-free extensions on expenses.
The report also outlines what government economic development authorities need to consider as they look to better support small businesses. These actions will be critical to ensuring that the voids highlighted in the survey data are addressed while the CARES Act is being deployed.
Read the full story and download the report at MainStreet.org.