The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses in the US: A Longitudinal Study from a Regional Perspective


Small businesses have suffered disproportionately from the COVID-19 pandemic. We use near-real-time weekly data from the Small Business Pulse Survey (April 26, 2020 - June 17, 2021) to examine the constantly changing impact of COVID-19 on small businesses across the United States. A set of multilevel models for change are adopted to model the trajectories of the various kinds of impact as perceived by business owners (subjective) and those recorded for business operations (objective), providing insights into regional resilience from a small business perspective. The findings reveal spatially uneven and varied trajectories in both the subjectively and the objectively assessed impact of COVID-19 across the U.S., and the different responses to the pandemic shock can be explained by evolving health situations and public policies, as well as by the economic structure and degree of socioeconomic vulnerability in different areas. This study contributes to scholarship on small businesses and regional resilience, as well as identifying policies and practices that build economic resilience and regional development under conditions of global pandemic disruption.

International Regional Science Review